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Cinnamon and Weight Loss
Many believe that there is a connection between cinnamon and weight loss. Before discussing the truth of that, why would people not use cinnamon in an attempt to lose weight? Possibly because spices are not generally regarded as useful as weight loss dietary components. But why not! Why should some herbs be regarded as good for losing weight and spices not?
Cinnamon is neither expensive nor vile-tasting, so why is it that more people don’t use it as part of their diet plan? There can be only one of two reasons for that – or perhaps both – ignorance of the weight loss benefits of cinnamon or because they don’t believe the claims made for the cinnamon and weight loss relationship.
However, not only is cinnamon a fabulous spice that gives a great taste to cookies and cakes, bread and applesauce, but it also has medical benefits. It has been used to treat coughs and colds, and also sore throats. The Romans believed that burning cinnamon in their homes would clean up the air and help to keep them and their families healthy.
In fact, cinnamon has been shown by modern science to possess antibacterial properties and so acts as an antiseptic. As is frequently the case, ancient use has been supported by modern science! Very few of these old remedies have been proved to be wrong, and there is now a belief that cinnamon can help you to lose weight.
Not just cinnamon but honey and cinnamon is a popular combination, although the calories in the honey may appear to present an argument against its use.
Cinnamon and Weight Loss: The Evidence
However, the relationship between cinnamon and weight loss has been shown to not only a belief, but many believe to be a proven fact!
So what is the evidence for the relationship between cinnamon and losing weight? It is a well-known anti-inflammatory, helping to relieve the pain of the inflammatory condition arthritis. Some also use it as a treatment for diabetes, which is in line with Ayurvedic and Chinese traditional medicine where it has been used by diabetics for centuries, but what about cinnamon and weight loss? Is there any evidence worth taking note of?
In fact, yes there is!
One simple fact is that if your fasting blood glucose is reduced by eating cinnamon, then there is less glucose in the blood to convert to fatty tissue. Any glucose not used up by cellular respiration to produce ATP energy in the cellular mitochondria is stored. Initially, as glycogen, your body’s emergency store of energy and then any left is stored as fat.
Your body only stores a limited amount of glycogen and any excess of glucose after that is stored as fatty tissue: you are born with a certain number of fat cells that can be anything from empty to full during your life, and excess glucose is converted to fat and then stored within these fat cells. In obese people, these fat cells are almost entirely filled up, while in anorexics they are almost completely empty.
So what other part does cinnamon play, because its fat-busting properties are not just restricted to reducing the amount of glucose in your blood? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, cinnamon can increase your metabolism by up to 20 times its normal rate. That is a lot!
Your metabolic rate is the speed by which your body carries out its biochemical reactions, particularly under resting conditions. Your metabolism determines how much energy is used by your body when at rest to fuel such processes as your heartbeat and the circulation of your blood, your breathing, through the energy needed to expand and contact your diaphragm muscle to create a vacuum in your lungs so that air is drawn in, and the peristaltic pumping action of your intestines, that enables the semi-solid sludge to be moved through your system until the waste is expelled as feces.
All of this requires energy, and your metabolism determines how effectively these physical aspects of the way your body works are carried out. Add to that the myriad biochemical reactions of your body and you are a massive and complex biosystem that constantly requires energy, and all of that energy is provided by the conversion of carbohydrates to simpler sugars and then to glucose, which is then used by your biochemistry either to generate energy or be stored in your body as fat.
All of this is regulated by your thyroid gland and pancreas gland, particularly the latter that produces the insulin hormone that tells your body what to do with the glucose in your blood: use it or store it as glycogen or fat.
Your thyroid determines the metabolic rate at which these reactions proceed. There is more to it than just that, but these are the basics of the way these components of your anatomy regulate your use and storage of energy.
If you want to lose weight, you must control the way that insulin uses the glucose in your blood (the final product of the digestion of carbohydrates). Cinnamon and weight loss are connected in that the cinnamon can help your insulin make the right decisions. Research has shown that just an eighth of a teaspoon of cinnamon can treble the efficiency of insulin.
Cinnamon can help your body to metabolize carbohydrates in the form of sugars more efficiently, and this results in a reduction of the sugar levels in your blood. You can then regulate your craving for food, reduce the levels of your hunger signals and ultimately lose weight.
Cinnamon and Weight Loss: The Connection
The connection between cinnamon and weight loss is such that cinnamon can enable your fat cells to respond better to your blood insulin levels, and so offer more effective burning of fat and loss of weight. Within your diet, cinnamon and weight loss go hand in hand because of the effect that cinnamon has on your insulin.
Therefore, taking honey with cinnamon might be such as a bad idea after all! The cinnamon can boost your metabolism to convert the honey sugars into energy rather than it being used to help fill up your fat cells.
So what is it about cinnamon and weight loss that it is so effective in enabling you to lose weight quickly when you have to?
So far we have discussed how:
- Cinnamon helps with the efficient metabolism of carbohydrates in the form of blood sugars, and so reduces the amount of sugar in your blood – generally in the form of glucose.
- Reduced glucose levels result in your body having less of a tendency to form fat molecules, and store them in your fat cells.
- Cinnamon boosts your metabolism and helps to regulate the storage of energy in the form of glycogen and stored fat.
- Fat cells become responsive to insulin levels and your fat tends to burn off with consequent weight loss.
Therefore, cinnamon and weight loss are closely connected through the influence that cinnamon has on your metabolism and the function of insulin on blood glucose. By lowering blood sugar levels, you will find it easier to lose weight, or at least prevent weight gain!
This is particularly true of the abdomen, the fat cells of which are particularly sensitive to high insulin levels. That is because of the proximity of the abdomen to your digestive system, the fact that your abdominal area contains an extensive array of blood vessels and the ease with which a large number of fat cells in your abdominal area can store excess glucose in the form of fat molecules.
What that all means is that less blood sugar (generally glucose) and high insulin levels are very conducive to losing weight, and dietary cinnamon and weight loss are very closely related.
Laboratory tests have shown that the constituents of cinnamon (described below) not only inhibit an enzyme that deactivates insulin receptors but also actively stimulates these receptors and so increases the ability of your body to utilize the glucose in your blood to generate energy rather than fat molecules by a significant amount.
Constituents of Cinnamon Bark
I haven’t mentioned it yet, I just assumed that people knew – but we all know about assumptions, don’t we! Cinnamon is the bark of the tree – not the dried leave or root, but the bark. Some cinnamons are stronger than others, and the more irritating the bark the more effectively it is apparently.
Here are the constituents of one type of cinnamon bark, and you can take this as representative:
Up to 40%: Mix of linalool and other substances.
It is the cinnamaldehyde that affects your blood sugar levels so dramatically. Eugenol is an aromatic essential oil that gives cinnamon its smell and is found predominantly in cloves. It is antiseptic but does not appear to have any effect on Quick weight loss.
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