Is Cinnamon a Fat Burner?


I like to listen to NPR when I wake up in the morning.

It’s become a habit for my husband and I to switch our Sonos from Spotify to local the local affiliate, KCRW to get our daily does of what’s going on in the world while we hustle and bustle out the door.

The other day, I heard a piece on whether or not cinnamon was a good fat burner.

Oh, dear, I thought, here we go!

I cringe anytime I hear reference to a specific food being classified as such! Far too many people misunderstand the science and implement an approach whereby they continue making poor food choices, not exercising and add this one ‘miracle fat burner’ thinking it’ll be their magic bullet!

A little background:

Cinnamon contains a compound called cinnamomum cassia, which has beneficial effects that come from methylhydroxychalcone (MHCP) which is responsible for the improved glucose levels seen with cinnamon therapy. This is used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes because it slows the rate of gastric emptying after a meal and improves glucose uptake, which reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Cinnamon has an effect on blood glucose levels. The uptake of glucose into the cell is stimulated, which stimulates glycogen synthesis, and insulin sensitivity increases. The aqueous form of cinnamon has been shown to increase glucose uptake better than ingesting cinnamon in another form. Lower dosages of cinnamon/extract are recommended. One study suggested that taking 1-3 grams daily for 20 days showed better results than 6 or more grams per day. One gram of cinnamon is equal to approximately one-half teaspoon. A recommended single dose would be between one-half to one and a half teaspoons. Cinnamon does not need to be ingested daily because its effects last for up to a day following a single dose.
The metabolic effects of cinnamon have an indirect effect on body fat. With the increase in insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake, there can be a reduction in body fat. The greatest effects are seen through a reduction in central adiposity (belly fat). So the weight-loss effects are not a direct effect from cinnamon; instead it is merely an indirect effect from decreasing insulin insensitivity and possibly decreased body fat.

Bottom line: adding cinnamon to your diet on its own is not going to get you to your goal of a lean body and being as healthy as you can be.

What will?

Following the Paleo diet.

About Nell Stephenson

Nell Stephenson is a Paleo Lifestyle Coach & Nutritional Counselor, Paleo chef and certified fitness trainer. Having collaborated with Dr Loren Cordain, the original author of The Paleo Diet, on The Paleo Diet Cookbook and being an advisor to The Paleo Diet team, Nell specializes in simplifying the science of Paleo into everyday living.

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This article is for informational purposes only, and is educational in nature. Statements made here have not been evaluated by the FDA. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please discuss with your own, qualified health care provider before adding in supplements or making any changes in your diet.