Weight Loss With Cinnamon - Fad or Fact?

“Stacy at the office puts cinnamon in her water to lose weight,” my friend said to me the other day. “Do you think I should try it, too?” she asked? As a nutrition coach, I get asked questions about how to lose weight fast all the time, but one of the things I’d like to break down in this article is about weight loss weight cinnamon. Is it fad or fact? Does it help you lose weight or is it just something that the internet made up? Let’s get down to the bottom of it to understand why people do it.

What Is Cinnamon?

Cinnamon is a spice that is most often found in a powder. It is derived from the bark of evergreen trees typically found in more tropical areas. When cinnamon is harvested, it’s peeled and taken from the inside of the bark of the tree, giving it that course, rolled paper look and feel, and exotic flavor and aroma. There are two main types of cinnamon: Ceylon and Cassia. The type of cinnamon that you most often find in the powered form at the grocery store, and the type that most people consume, is the cassia form of cinnamon.

Types of cinnamon

There are mainly four types of cinnamon:

  • Ceylon cinnamon or Mexican cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)

  • Indonesian cinnamon (Cinnamomum burmanni)

  • Vietnamese cinnamon (Cinnamomum loureiroi)

  • Cassia cinnamon or Chinese cinnamon (Cinnamomum aromaticum).

What is Cinnamon Used For?

Cinnamon is a nice spice often used on sweet baked goods, like cookies, bread, and cinnamon rolls, for example. You can add it to breakfast items like oatmeal and yogurt, and it also goes greatly mixed in a drink with a little orange or apple. It’s most often used in fall dishes and baked goods as a go-to flavor because it compliments other common fall spices, such as nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice. However, in the health and diet world, cinnamon is touted as an ingredient for a weight-loss elixir and for helping the body burn more calories. But is it true? Is there truth in these claims? Let’s dig in further, now that you know what cinnamon is and what it is commonly used for.

Fun Fact: You’d have to down a LOT of cinnamon in order to have any dangerous side effects

Fun Fact: You’d have to down a LOT of cinnamon in order to have any dangerous side effects

Is Cinnamon Good For You?

Cinnamon has been used for things like bloating, indigestion, and diarrhea dating all the way back to medieval times. It has even been documented back to 2800 BC, being used as an anointment, for embalming, and various ailments. [R]Cinnamon itself, believe it or not, has nutrients in it like fiber, iron, calcium, and manganese. [R] It has been shown in studies to help fight free radical damage, improve digestion, and even lower blood sugar levels. How much cinnamon should you have though, to receive benefits like these? Does it even help with weight loss?

Weight Loss With Cinnamon

Managing the glycemic index and blood glucose in individuals that contribute to body fat gain and increased weight is one of the biggest challenges we face in modern society. Increasing weights and body fat contributes to unwanted weight gain and adverse health affects. Achieving weight loss with cinnamon has been shown to actually work, because cinnamon has an ability to help regulate glucose (blood sugar) levels in the body. However, many of the studies have only been done in small randomized trials, and the results have been either conflicting or not significant enough. [R]

That being said, it has been demonstrated that weight loss with Cassia cinnamon can play a significant role in phosphorylation of signaling proteins and enhancement of the expression of insulin sensitive glucose transporters, which help with the mitigation of insulin resistance. [R] A meta-analysis by Allen et al. done for 10 randomized controlled trials including 543 patients has established that cinnamon, when taken in a dose of 120 mg/day to 6 g/day for approximately 4 months leads to a statistical decrease in levels of fasting plasma glucose along with an improvement in the lipid profile.[R]

So while there are conflicting studies that support weight loss with cinnamon, the next question we came to while looking into this theory is wondering how people achieved results like this, and how much cinnamon it takes to achieve weight loss with cinnamon. So we dug further.

Fun Fact: Cinnamon has been used for centuries in both food and medicinal ways

Fun Fact: Cinnamon has been used for centuries in both food and medicinal ways

Cinnamon and Weight Loss

While using cinnamon alone as a weight-loss technique isn’t recommended, using cinnamon daily and/or taking a cinnamon supplement can potentially improve blood sugar levels and therefore increase insulin sensitivity levels in the body, which may contribute to weight loss and body fat loss, as well as improvements in overall health. The spice has been shown to mimic the metabolism of glucose, but in limited research studies, which do require more conclusive research to be validated. That being said, body fat is stored in the body thanks to high blood sugar levels, so cinnamon combined with increasing vegetables and protein in the diet can potentially provide benefits to those seeking weight loss with cinnamon.

Another propertied benefited of using cinnamon as a weight loss technique is helping you feel more satisfied and fuller for longer. If you feel fuller for longer, the spice can act as a natural appetite suppressant, while also helping metabolize carbohydrates, improving the efficiency of your digestive system to break down and absorb the food you eat. Alas, weight loss with cinnamon may happen, but chances are the changes will be small, unless combined with improving diet and purposeful exercise on a daily basis.

Weight Loss With Cinnamon - Fad or Fact?

All in all, incorporating cinnamon into your diet can be a beneficial thing for the human body and definitely won’t take away from it. We recommend not going overboard though with the spice and not looking at it as an end-all weight loss option for getting where you want to go. Instead, start to add it to foods and drinks to enjoy the aroma and flavor, and let the body do the rest. Combining cinnamon with increasing vegetables, lean protein, and quality carbohydrates, as well as drinking 100oz of water or more per day, can really help you achieve weight loss with cinnamon. In our opinion, this is a way better option than just trying to eat a tablespoon of powder, and chances are, the changes will be much more sustainable long term. All in all, using cinnamon for weight loss is a little bit of both fad and fact.


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Tags: Nutrition