Cinnamon, obtained from the inner bark of trees belonging to the Cinnamomum genus, has been used as a condiment for centuries for its pleasant aroma. It is used in powder form or stick rolls in curries, desserts, or bakery dishes. But aside from its unquestionable flavour, cinnamon is also known to have numerous health benefits, and weight loss is touted to be one of them.
Given that this condiment is packed with a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals, many dietary supplements have included it in their formula claiming to enhance the weight management benefits. But does cinnamon actually facilitate weight reduction? We have researched deeper into the various scientific evidence surrounding cinnamon’s association with body weight to see if it can be used for losing weight. Let’s find out below.
What Is Cinnamon
Cinnamon is a plant-derived ingredient that is used as a flavoring spice in several dishes for its warm and unique aroma. It is obtained from the inner woody layer of trees belonging to the Cinnamomum family. Initially used as a trading good, Cinnamon has, over the years, found its use as a traditional medicine, anti-aging agent, preservative, beauty, and wellness supplement for its incredible fragrance, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties. It can even aid weight loss in multiple different ways which we will get to in a bit.
Cinnamon is broadly classified into two different types based on their origin- Ceylon and cassia.
Ceylon- As the name suggests, Ceylon cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka and obtained from the Cinnamomum zeylanicum tree. Also called True cinnamon or Mexican cinnamon, this one tastes slightly sweeter than its other counterpart, has a gentle aroma, and comes in a lighter shade.
Cassia- This is the most commonly found cinnamon and comes in different sub-types. This type of cinnamon is characterized by its significantly warm and strong aroma and has a dark brown color. While this species is originally from China it is grown in a few other places as well based on which they are of three sub-categories:
Chinese cinnamon has the mildest aroma, has more of a pungent flavor, and is thick and rough textured. It is mainly used in traditional medicines to cure flu, throat issues, common cold, etc.
Indonesian or Korintje form nearly 70% of the cinnamons in the market because of the cheaper and easier harvesting process. The barks are thinner with light brown shade, the ones that you see in most kitchens. Korintje is also sweeter than all the other varieties.
Vietnamese, also called Saigon cinnamon is known for its strongest aroma compared to the other types and also contains the highest amount of flavonoid/antioxidant among all four which gives it its distinct taste and spicy aroma.
Can Cinnamon Promote Weight Loss? – What Science Says
Cinnamon can facilitate weight loss by influencing multiple body processes like glucose metabolism, increasing insulin sensitivity, and more. Several clinical interceptions have also demonstrated this condiment’s direct association with weight reduction and body composition. Let’s take a look at some of the major ones to understand whether cinnamon can really help if you are looking to shed pounds.
Findings from an extensive review conducted in 2020 on cinnamon’s impact on obesity concluded that it had a significant positive influence on the various obesity measures. Cinnamon supplementation was able to reduce weight, and body composition, eliminate fat, and regulate blood sugar levels.
The above finding was further supported by another meta-analysis of 21 clinical interventions. The review suggested that cinnamon can promote a significant reduction of body mass index (BMI) but it didn’t show a decrease in waist circumference in either the placebo or cinnamon-supplemented group.
Digging deeper into the available data, We came across a study to evaluate the effects of daily cinnamon consumption on body mass and fat. It involved 44 patients with Type II diabetes divided into placebo and treatment groups. The treatment group was asked to consume three grams of cinnamon per day for eight weeks. At the end of the trial period, researchers confirmed a considerable decrease in fasting blood sugar, triglyceride, body weight, fat mass, and BMI of individuals who consume cinnamon.
Similarly, another piece of evidence presented by a comprehensive meta-analysis of the benefits of cinnamon indicated that it can have a higher impact on obesity when the dose is more than 3 grams (or >3000 mg).
Now, while all the above studies have demonstrated a direct connection between cinnamon and weight, some research also shows its effect on other body processes which in turn facilitate weight management. One such study is a review of 5 clinical interventions about cinnamon’s effect on metabolic markers.
The results found that cinnamon supplementation in patients with PCOS helped lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and total cholesterol levels significantly, improved the levels of HDLs, and also regulated fasting glucose levels by improving insulin sensitivity. Even though it did not have any direct impact on the body weight, benefiting the other metabolic parameters will support in bringing down the body weight.
Safety Guidelines And Optimal Dosage Recommendations
Nothing in excess is good and the same goes with Cinnamon as well. When you consume adhering to the recommended dose which is as much as the amount used for cooking, it is safe as well as effective.
That said, the suggested daily amount of cinnamon required for weight loss benefits, whether it is in the form of a supplement or as a condiment in dishes, is between 2000 mg to 6000 mg. Anything more than this comes under overuse and can bring about some adverse effects on the body.
Regardless, the side effects of cinnamon are very infrequent and mild. No major harmful effects have been reported so far. Some of the ones to keep an eye on would be-
|Mild stomach upset
|Increased heartbeat (palpitation)
If you are too sensitive, then it is best to stick to the minimum effective dose of cinnamon. Also using cassia cinnamon for a long period consistently may cause issues in people suffering from liver ailments. The reason is the presence of a compound called coumarin which is responsible for its distinctive aroma. However, the majority of the dietary supplements or food items containing cinnamon do not have high amounts of coumarin to cause adverse reactions.
We have seen multiple studies that strongly establish the fact that cinnamon can promote weight loss- directly or indirectly. It is rich in antioxidants and several other vital nutrients that support various factors that contribute to weight reduction like glucose metabolism, lowering cholesterol levels, and fat mass from the body. All these help reduce body composition and help you slim down.
All that said, you should understand that cinnamon cannot be used as an alternative to medication for serious health issues that may be causing obesity. While it supports weight loss by influencing various body processes, it can be used as one of the supporting elements along with a low-calorie diet and daily workout regime. Obesity can be caused as a result of numerous underlying issues, so, we strongly recommend that you consult a healthcare specialist to get the right treatment in addition to taking natural supplements like cinnamon.