With its tempting and fragrant aroma, it is no wonder that cinnamon is one of the most popular spices in the world.
However alongside its culinary usage, various researches have shown there may be real weight loss benefits of using cinnamon.
It is important to note that, as with any dietary supplement, there is no magical way to make you lose weight. Less calories ingested and regular exercise is still your primary path toward achieving your goal.
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Blood Sugar Levels and Cinnamon
When you eat some food your body converts it into blood sugar. The more you eat the higher the levels of sugar in your body.
Certain types of food, like for example white bread, are rapidly digested and cause sudden rises in your blood sugar levels.
The higher the glycemic index of a food, the larger and more sudden increase in your blood sugar levels.
As your blood sugar levels rise, your body produces insulin, a hormone that prompts cells to absorb blood sugar.
Some is used for energy and the excess amount is turned into fat storage.
If you eat a lot of food with a high glycemic index your blood sugar levels spike, and then suddenly crash as insulin does its work.
You quickly become hungry again and that leads to overeating.
When such a habit persists, your body has to release excess amounts of insulin which causes it to linger in the bloodstream, effectively putting the body in constant fat-storage mode.
Alongside gaining weight, this leads to an increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
This is where cinnamon may help…
In a study, published in the Journal Diabetes Care in 2003, 30 people with type 2 diabetes were given cinnamon for 40 days.
The results were impressive; to say the least. All participants experienced a significant decrease in blood sugar, triglycerides, and LDL and cholesterol levels.
This fact is owed to the unique bioactive compound found in cinnamon which imitates effects of insulin in the body.
Even though further research is needed, this discovery may qualify cinnamon as an insulin substitute.
In an animal study, published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism in 2011, a group of rats were observed to have 50% reduction in post meal levels of blood sugar after being given some amounts of cinnamon.
When your insulin and blood sugar levels are stable, and are less prone to sudden spikes and crashes, weight loss becomes significantly easier.
Metabolism and Cinnamon
In 2000, USDA announced that cinnamon intake increased blood sugar metabolism 20-fold. In an additional study, published in 2010, in Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics it was suggested that adding cinnamon to your diet reduces body fat and increases lean mass.
In 2009 study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition a group of Scandinavian researchers found that by taking cinnamon, alongside lowering your insulin, you delay gastric passing of food you ingest.
By delaying the passing of food from the stomach to the intestine you are satiated for longer time. Not only does that keep you full but also prevents overeating.
Again, this is no substitute for exercise, but such a boost in metabolic processing rate allows you to burn more calories and achieve optimal weight loss.
Long Term Effects
Even though taking cinnamon may have benefits on your blood sugar levels, in order to sustain them you need to take cinnamon on a daily basis.
A study published in the Journal of Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism in 2008, tested people for long term benefits of using cinnamon.
The effects were immediate but were found to be sustainable for up to 12 hours. In another research published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology showed that positive effects of insulin ceased when the cinnamon intake was stopped.
As we all know, when you are on a diet sweets are off limits. However, that may not always be easy and cinnamon can certainly help here.
You can substitute the amount sugar which you would normally put in your sweet dishes with cinnamon as its properties enhance the sweetness of food.
Another extremely popular recipe is combining cinnamon with honey. Both ingredients have strong antibacterial properties and will not only give overall boost to your health, but will also help keep your stomach micro flora healthy.
Even though there are significant weight loss benefits of cinnamon, please consult with your doctor before taking it.
Taking cinnamon is not safe for people with liver damage and can adversely interact with medications that affect your blood sugar levels.