Cinnamon is a spice made from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum genus of trees and can be traced as far back as ancient Egypt. There are 2 main types of cinnamon Cassia and Ceylon. Ceylon, produced in Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Brazil and the Caribbean is known as ‘true’ cinnamon with a more subtle flavour. Historically cinnamon has been used as a medicine for a number of ailments and is in use in scientific studies to see if it can help treat diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
So how can cinnamon be a useful tool when losing weight?
Cinnamon is packed with antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation inside the body in excess can actually affect your hunger hormones and can make you more hungry. If you have low-level inflammation that you’re not aware of it may well be affecting your appetite which can make weight loss more of a struggle. Previous studies have shown that cinnamon can significantly reduce blood sugar levels and triglycerides in those with type 2 diabetes. A more recent study has shown that it balances blood sugar in those with pre-diabetes which is likely to be a large percentage of the population.
In effect, cinnamon lowers blood sugar which reduces hunger and sugar cravings. It locks up your hunger and makes it less likely you’ll overeat or reach for sugary snacks. One way it does this is by slowing the breakdown of carbohydrates in the digestive tract which limits the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream. Other studies suggest it moderates insulin signalling (the fat-storage hormone) so that you store less fat.
One teaspoon of Cassia and a little more Ceylon cinnamon per day (less coumarin) is considered safe by European guidelines but those with diabetes and taking medication should always check with their doctor before consuming cinnamon. Cinnamon is so versatile it can be added to curries, lattes, water, porridge, juices, teas, and smoothies so it’s easy to incorporate it into your daily routine and it tastes good! A small step you can take to help you work towards your weight loss goals.