There is a connection between cinnamon and weight loss, which is good news for those that love the taste of cinnamon and also have to lose weight. In fact, cinnamon can be used to help you to lose weight in a healthy way that will compromise neither your immune system nor your cardiovascular system.
Cinnamon is known to have positive medicinal properties in that it is believed to help improve your memory and general brain function, and also possesses antibacterial properties. Add to that the fact that it appears to be effective in reducing the LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in your blood, then cinnamon is a very useful spice to use in your cooking. I find apple and cinnamon pie absolutely divine!
However, one proven property of cinnamon is that it reduces the amount of glucose in your blood (i.e. blood sugar) and also increase insulin levels, which is of benefit to diabetics (Refs 1-2 below). Ingestion of just one gram of cinnamon has been found to lower blood sugar in Type 2 diabetics, and also reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in their blood.
It is this effect that cinnamon has on blood sugar that enables it to help you to reduce weight. The proanthocyanadin contained in cinnamon activates the insulin receptors on your body cells which enables these cells to make use of glucose to generate energy. Thus, your blood sugar (glucose) is used for energy and not to generate fat.
Without these insulin receptors being activated, your cells cannot enable glucose to enter the cellular mitochondria where it is used in the Krebs Cycle to generate ATP energy. The only other option for it is then to be metabolized into fat, used as an emergency energy source that is stored in your fat cells. Hence, you tend to put on weight. The function of insulin is to enable the cells of your body to absorb glucose so that it can used, together with oxygen, in cellular respiration to generate energy.
Cinnamon promotes this, and its use in promoting good health was known by the Romans who would burn the tree bark (which cinnamon is) in their homes because it was believed to clean the air and keep them healthy. The Romans did not know why, but they knew that it did. This is one more example of ancient remedies and usage of herbs and spices for which modern science is able to provide a reason.
Give them credit; these old civilizations sure knew what was good for them – and bad. They were masters of both health-promoting natural substances and poisons which they used a lot. In fact, was it not for their prolific use of poisons the world would likely now be overpopulated!
Cinnamon and weight loss go hand in hand in that cinnamon helps your fat cells to react to insulin levels, and burns fat when needed to generate energy. By enabling your body to metabolize carbohydrates more readily into glucose and then energy, cinnamon and weight loss are very tightly connected in terms of your metabolism.
There is much more to it than just that, but for now it is enough to understand that cinnamon and weight loss both have a connection with the metabolism of carbohydrates to glucose, the glycolysis of glucose to pyruvate and the cellular oxidation of pyruvate to energy. The more efficient that process, the more fat you will burn and convert to energy.
Cinnamon is more than just a flavoring for cookies and apple pie (Mmmm…) – Cinnamon and weight loss are interconnected in a way that you may not fully understand, but that will make you lose weight quicker by reducing the fat stored within your fat cells. So get that apple pie out and send me some!
Note: Check with your physician before taking any supplement that can affect insulin or your cardiovascular system. Cinnamon and fat loss supplements are usually fine, but let your doctor know what you are doing if you are already on medication.
1. Khan A, Safdar M, Ali Khan MM, Khattak KN, Anderson RA (December 2003). “Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes”. Diabetes Care 26 (12): 3215-8.
2. Verspohl, Eugen J. et al.; Bauer, K; Neddermann, E (2005). “Antidiabetic effect of Cinnamomum cassia and Cinnamomum zeylanicum In vivo and In vitro”. Phytotherapy Research 19 (3): 203-206.