The thought of cinnamon probably conjures up images of hot apple pie, warm cinnamon buns, cinnamon toast … not exactly the kind of foods you associate with weight loss. But amazingly, research has recently discovered that this sweet, tasty spice can play a hand in helping you drop a pants size or two.
Hard to believe? I’ll show you the evidence if you read on…
For this study, researchers at Ball State University recruited 30 adults, and gave them two separate meals, spaced a week apart.
Meal #1: A bowl of hot cereal
Meal #2: A bowl of hot cereal with two and a half teaspoons of cinnamon.
Both times researchers measured blood sugar before the meal and then again two hours after eating.
Here’s what they found…
The cereal with cinnamon significantly improved blood sugar balance. In fact, the cinnamon-spiked cereal resulted in a 24 percent reduction in total blood sugar during the two-hour post-meal period.1 The reason for this appears to be cinnamon’s ability to help your insulin work more efficiently.
What’s weight got to do with it? (I feel a Tina Turner song coming on…)
Everything … If you’re overweight, you’re likely experiencing some level of insulin resistance. What this means is that the insulin in your body has become less effective at lowering your blood sugar, making it harder to lose weight, even when following a low-calorie diet.
And when your body isn’t using sugar properly, you’ll often crave sugars or carbohydrates. It’s a losing game because as you consume more of the sugar you crave, less of it is being converted into energy… Instead it’s being stored as body fat.
This is why cinnamon’s ability to help your insulin work more efficiently2 can have a direct impact on your waistline.
Other cinnamon kudos
Emerging research3 reveals that cinnamon also decreases inflammation. Inflammation can be a positive when in response to environmental attacks, viruses, or bodily damage. But chronic, low-grade inflammation, which happens when fat cells overrun the body, triggers a reaction that causes cells to stop responding to insulin.
Inflammation also messes with leptin, a key weight-controlling hormone. When insulin and leptin hormones no longer function properly, all kinds of metabolic mayhem ensue. And the weight not only begins to pile on, it also becomes much harder to lose.
11 ways to make cinnamon a habit
- Add cinnamon to a cup of tea, hot chocolate or coffee
- Sprinkle on low-fat cottage cheese or low-fat yogurt
- Combine with ginger, garlic and olive oil to season steamed vegetables
- Dip an apple into peanut butter, then cinnamon
- Sprinkle cinnamon on fruit salad
- Add to your favorite vegetable stir-fry
- Dust on whole-grain pancakes
- Shake on quinoa cereal
- Combine with ginger, tarragon, salt and pepper and bake with chicken
- Add cinnamon to black bean soup for a unique twist
- Throw in the blender when you’re whipping up a breakfast smoothie
Has this study convinced you to add some more cinnamon into your life? Me too. I’m going to try some in my oatmeal tomorrow morning. Let me know if you find any interesting ways to use cinnamon. I’d love to hear about them.
Steven Sisskind, M.D.
Steve Sisskind, M.D.
Hi, I'm Dr. Steve Sisskind, Chief Medical Officer & Founder at RealDose Nutrition.
As a young physician, I struggled because my patients came to me with serious health issues, but I didn't have the right tools to help them. Medical school taught me how to put "band aids" on their symptoms with drugs and surgery, but not how to address the root causes of their problems.
Years later I discovered a better approach... based on the fundamental idea that the power of nutrition can transform your health and vitality. But there's a lot of confusion... What foods should I eat? Which supplements should I take? What does the science say?
I have dedicated my life to answering these questions... And I share this knowledge with you every day here at RealDose Nutrition.
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1. Magistrelli A, Chezem JC. Effect of ground cinnamon on postprandial blood glucose concentration in normal-weight and obese adults. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012;112(11):1806-1809. PMID: 23102179.
2. Qin B, Panickar KS, Anderson RA. Cinnamon: potential role in the prevention of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2010;4(3):685-693. PMID: 20513336.
3. Hong JW, Yang GE, Kim YB, Eom SH, Lew JH, Kang H. Anti-inflammatory activity of cinnamon water extract in vivo and in vitro LPS-induced models. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012;12:237. PMID: 23190501.