The latest trend to take over TikTok isn’t a new dance or a funny lip-sync — it’s honey.
More specifically, freezing a water bottle full of honey and then squeezing the contents out, so a long, somewhat solid-looking shaft of golden honey oozes out of the top before you take a massive bite.
The trend has exploded across the app, with thousands of videos having been made. The hashtag “#FrozenHoney” has been viewed nearly 600 million times, and the hashtag “#FrozenHoneyChallenge” has been viewed more than 80 million times.
Some people have mixed honey with corn syrup to make the honey less dense, while others have made their own concoctions of corn syrup and candy, which, when frozen, have a similar texture to the chilled honey.
It’s unclear where exactly the trend originated. It has been a staple of YouTube channels devoted to autonomous sensory meridian response, also known as ASMR, in which content creators eat frozen honey to create sounds that some people find relaxing.
Some on TikTok claimed that after they tried the honey, they felt sick or were running for the bathroom with diarrhea.
“I feel sick now,” a user wrote beneath a video of herself trying the trend.
“[Be right back] gotta go get my stomach pumped,” another user joked.
Part of the issue is just how much honey the people are consuming — while experts say small amounts of honey aren’t a health concern, eating a fifth or more of a bottle can be a sugar overload.
“Honey is great, but having it in small amounts to sweeten is really a healthy relationship with food, and using it to get a lot of followers and a lot of attention and having it in excess amounts is crazy,” said Kristin Kirkpatrick, a registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic.
Young people who are interested in gobbling up bottles of frozen honey should think twice, experts warned, as they could experience diarrhea, stomach cramping, bloating and other adverse effects.
About 1 in 3 people has dietary fructose intolerance, also called fructose malabsorption, which means the cells in the intestines don’t absorb fructose the way they should, causing gastrointestinal distress, Kirkpatrick said.
“I don’t see a huge risk with the short-term aspect for someone who has this fructose malabsorption other than what they’re going to experience, which is awful diarrhea, stomach pain and things like that because they’re not breaking it down correctly,” she said.
Another concern is the potential, albeit small, risk of botulism for those who try the trend with raw honey.
“It’s thought to be fine in adults, but a large load might potentially be problematic,” said Lisa Young, an adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. “Clearly, if teenagers are having too much that could be problematic.”
Experts said they also worried that the sticky substance could hurt people’s teeth, cause cavities and pull out fillings.
For those who try the frozen honey trend only once, nutrition experts said, major ramifications aren’t likely, aside from a stomachache.
But those who have gained views by making different kind of honeys and honey-like frozen candy concoctions and have repeatedly posted videos consuming them could be at risk for weight gain, disordered eating and other health risks.
“I worry about kids’ going on TikTok to get their information and then following the latest trend and not tuning in to their own, internal stomach,” Young said. “If you try this trend once in a while and you get a stomachache — just because everyone else is doing it — be independent and you don’t have to do it, either.”
Minnesota wildfire doubles in size, creates its own weather
A wildfire in northeastern Minnesota more than doubled in size Tuesday, growing to more than 19,000 acres, after it produced pyrocumulous clouds that generated lightning and even raindrops, fire officials said.
The Greenwood Fire’s growth, most of which happened Monday afternoon, prompted firefighters to leave McDougal Lake, about 80 miles south-southwest of Duluth, officials said. Authorities fear that structures might have been destroyed or damaged.
“We had crews embedded, and as this fire took off, it was quite an effort to communicate with forces on the ground so they could get out,” said federal fire incident spokesman Clark McCreedy.
The pullout was a success, and no injuries were reported. However, downed trees and necessary cleanup mean crews have been unable to assess damage around the lake, McCreedy said.
In addition to the firefighter pullout, 159 dwellings were evacuated Monday, according to an update from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. Cabins, homes and recreational sites remain under threat, the group said.
Patrick Prochaska, a Minneapolis resident who built a cabin near McDougal Lake in 2012, told NBC affiliate KARE that he watched via security camera as flames mostly bypassed his property Monday, causing minor damage.
“I was feeling very scared,” he said. “At the same time, I could see that it was not doing anything to the house, and it was kind of reassuring.”
The fire in and north of Superior National Forest has mostly performed according to the weather, fire officials said. On Monday, with dry fuel on the ground and temperatures in the high 80s, it was an expanding inferno punctuated by strobes of lightning.
“The winds were drawn into the fire from all directions,” the incident’s fire behavior analyst, Michael Locke, said in a video update Tuesday. “It created what we call pyrocumulous clouds. And really high in the atmosphere … you’d see a thunderstorm, and in fact they went high enough to produce a few sprinkles of rain and even some lightning.”
Temperatures dipped into the mid-70s Tuesday, and the blaze mellowed. “The real story was cloud cover and cooler temperatures,” McCreedy said.
More of the same, and possibly rain, was in the forecast, giving officials hope that they might be able to close the book on an unusually active and dry fire season in Minnesota.
Experts have said climate change has set the stage for extreme weather, including an increase in the frequency and intensity of wildfires in the Northern Hemisphere.
Firefighters — 426 were assigned to the Greenwood event — have been confronted with “prolonged, severe drought,” making parts of Minnesota look like the fire-prone West this summer, McCreedy said.
The Greenwood Fire, which was detected Aug. 15, is believed to have been sparked by lightning.
So far, firefighters have scored no containment, and areas including McDougal Lake, Sand Lake and the Highway 2 corridor have been under mandatory evacuation orders. The federal Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness was closed Saturday “due to active and increasing fire activity, extreme drought, limited resources,” the National Forest Service said in a notice.
Officials set a goal of Sept. 1 for full containment.
“We’re probably going to get more of that moderating weather for the rest of the week,” McCreedy said. “That opens the door for fire crews to make progress on the ground.”
Hiker survives grizzly bear attack at Denali National Park
A tourist from Indiana was attacked and injured by a grizzly bear at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska on Monday night, park officials said.
The 55-year-old tourist, whose name was not released, was hiking alone in dense fog in the Thoroughfare Pass area when a mother bear and multiple cubs charged him from nearby bushes, the National Park Service said in a statement Tuesday.
He had puncture wounds to a calf, his left ribs and his left shoulder, the agency said.
The victim used bear spray that might have cut the attack short, the park service indicated. He walked 1.5 miles to a visitor’s center where “medical personnel” vacationing at Denali treated him as a park bus driver called 911, it said.
The hiker was taken to a medical center near the park before he was transferred to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, about 120 miles away, park officials said. He was stabilized at the Fairbanks hospital, they said.
“Due to the apparent defensive nature of this attack, there are no plans to locate the bear involved,” the park service said. “Female bears with cubs are naturally defensive of their young, especially when surprised. There is no indication that this bear is unusually dangerous.”
Grizzly bears are federally protected as a threatened species in the lower 48 states. According to the National Wildlife Federation, fewer than 1,500 grizzlies are left in the lower 48, but they thrive, comparatively, in Alaska, where they have a population of about 31,000.
The backcountry area of the attack is closed for one week as a precaution, the park service said.
House passes John Lewis voting rights bill, sends measure to Senate for tougher fight
House Democrats on Tuesday passed a sweeping voting rights bill named after Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., the late civil rights icon.
The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act was approved 219-212. All Republicans voted against the legislation.
The bill is part of congressional Democrats’ broader campaign to strengthen voting laws at the federal level to fight restrictive voting laws passed in Republican-led states, such as Texas and Georgia. However, it faces steep opposition in the Senate, where Democrats hold a wafer-thin majority.
The House returned from its recess this week to take up the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a resolution for Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget package, which includes funding for much of President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda. The procedural motion used to pass the multitrillion-dollar resolution paved the way for the House to vote on the voting rights bill, which was re-introduced last week by Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala.
The legislation would require states with recent histories of discrimination to get federal “preclearance” to change their voting laws, which directly addresses the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling in Shelby County v. Holder. The ruling gutted the preclearance system in the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which civil rights advocates argue was successful in blocking proposed voting restrictions in states and localities with histories of racial discrimination.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement last week that Congress had “not only an ironclad Constitutional mandate, but a moral responsibility” to pass the bill.
Shortly before its passage, Pelosi said on the House floor that the bill would honor Lewis’ legacy.
“We should have the right to vote and shouldn’t be diminished by anyone. It is unpatriotic to undermine the ability of people who have a right to vote, who have access to the polls,” she said. “As John knew, this precious pillar of our democracy is under attack from one of the worst voter suppression campaigns since Jim Crow.”
It isn’t the first time House Democrats have tackled election law. In March, House Democrats passed the For the People Act, a sweeping bill that seeks to change campaign finance, voting and ethics laws.
The bill would expand access to the ballot box by creating automatic voter registration across the country by registering eligible voters whenever they interact with government agencies, restoring the voting rights of the formerly incarcerated, expanding early voting and modernizing the country’s voting systems.
However, Senate Republicans filibustered the voting rights legislation in June, and the vote to advance an amended version of the For the People Act split along party lines 50-50, short of the 60 votes needed. All Democratic-aligned senators voted to begin debate, and Republicans unanimously voted to block the bill.
Passage of the voting measure was the final vote of the week for the House, whose members are leaving Washington and won’t return until Sept. 20.
Haley Talbot contributed.
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