You might have heard about using cinnamon for weight loss… but does it really work and if it does will it actually make a difference?
Cinnamon is supposedly one of those recommended supplements that’ll help achieve your weight loss goals. Now we all know there’s no such thing as a magic pill for weight loss but cinnamon does have some intriguing benefits that could help you drop a few extra pounds.
If you have a sweet tooth then switching out sugar for cinnamon is a simple solution to quickly put you on the right track to reaching your weight loss goals. I add it daily to my morning coffee and protein shakes and have noticed results.
Unfortunately, just about all the cinnamon you’ll find on the shelf in your local grocery store isn’t real cinnamon but cassia bark. In this article, I’ll also show you how to find real cinnamon so you can get the best results too.
Here you’ll also discover if taking cinnamon will really make a difference and if it’s worth adding to your daily routine.
Does Cinnamon Make You Lose Weight
First off, cinnamon smells and taste absolutely delicious. There’s something about the aroma that can really make you feel relaxed and right at home.
Cinnamon first started popping up around 2,000 B.C. when the ancient Egyptians used it as a perfuming agent in the embalming process.
Later, Arab traders would bring cinnamon to Europe. There’s even a legend saying in 65 A.D. the Roman emperor Nero burned as much cinnamon as he could get his hands on in the funeral pyre for his late wife to make amends for her death.
There are even references to cinnamon in the bible. It was used in holy anointing oil in combination with other herbs, spices, and oils. They’d pour this anointing oil on people’s heads for its therapeutic benefits.
Cinnamon was also used in medieval times as a natural way for people to fight off the black plague. You can now see cinnamon has had useful health benefits and medical properties for a very very long time.
But does cinnamon work for weight loss?
Blood sugar and insulin spikes are two of the major causes of weight gain (1). Eating lots of sugars, refined carbohydrates, and processed grains will cause these spikes. They’ll not only lead to type 2 diabetes but also weight gain (2).
So the better you’re able to keep your blood sugar levels stable and insulin levels low then the easier it’s going to be for you to lose weight. And it turns out cinnamon is highly effective for both.
Cinnamon has been found to improve insulin sensitivity and lower fasting blood sugar (3). Both of these are paramount in weight loss. This is what can make the keto diet so effective for losing weight.
Let’s take a look at more of the benefits of cinnamon…
Health Benefits of Cinnamon
Cinnamon has long been believed to help with weight loss along with lots of other powerful benefits. Of course, eating cinnamon rolls is never part of a healthy diet and will only make your belly fat worse. But the right cinnamon powder has been used for thousands of years for its medicinal properties.
Recently, more and more studies have been coming out proving these long-held beliefs on the powers of cinnamon to be true.
Cinnamon Reduces Belly Fat
When you’re looking to lose weight most don’t really think in terms of body fat they want to lose. You just really want to lose weight. But you’ll never be able to get rid of belly fat if you lose weight but become skinny fat.
All pounds aren’t created equal. Instead of just losing weight you should focus on decreasing the fat in your body and improving the lean muscle mass you have. This is exactly what cinnamon will help you do.
A 2006 study in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition found the cinnamon extract to be quite helpful in improving body fat by increasing lean mass and decreasing body fat (4).
The problem with just losing weight is even though you may be skinnier you will also not have any muscle toning definition (5). This will mean your body may be thin but it will also be too squishy and dimply.
The secret is to not only lower your body weight but also increase lean muscle and decrease body fat. Luckily cinnamon can help you improve your body composition and reduce stubborn belly fat (6).
Cinnamon Is a Powerful Antioxidant
Most people don’t know this but cinnamon is a very powerful antioxidant (7). Antioxidants fight the damage-causing free radicals in your body that can lead to inflammation, disease, and premature aging (8).
So the more of these the better! Crazily enough in this one study measuring the total equivalent antioxidant capacity cinnamon beat out 26 other spices including garlic and oregano (9).
Even a teaspoon of cinnamon contains as many antioxidants as 1/2 of blueberries. The ORAC scale (which measures antioxidant content) even ranks cinnamon as the #5 spice on their list of most powerful antioxidants.
There are plenty of studies out there proving how bad chronic long-term inflammation is for your body and how it can seriously damage tissues that cause health problems, weight gain, and aging (10).
Cinnamon can help lower inflammation and it can also help your body fight infections and repair tissue damage.
Speeds Up Metabolism
Want to burn more calories while you sleep? Then you’ll want your metabolism going as fast as possible. This way you can burn more calories even though you may not even be exercising. Cinnamon is great because it causes a metabolic reaction in your body leading it to burn more calories (11).
This is good news for you because more calories burned equals more weight loss. Cinnamon speeds up your metabolism by allowing your body to better be able to use your carbohydrate storage so it doesn’t turn into fat (12).
And the less fat you have on your body the better. We can already see how well cinnamon for weight loss is working.
Cinnamon Is Good For Your Heart
Heart disease is the #1 killer in the United States that seems to affect more and more people every year. Adding cinnamon to your healthy diet can help to reduce your risk of heart disease (13).
This study published in Diabetes Care proves cinnamon reduces total cholesterol levels, LDL cholesterol levels, and triglycerides (14). All three of these have been known to seriously cause heart disease.
Cinnamon has also been found in animals to reduce blood pressure as well (15). High blood pressure is a well-known risk factor for heart disease. Another tip to lower your blood pressure is to focus on getting more potassium in your diet, and not just lowering your sodium intake.
Cinnamon Reduces Appetite
Add some cinnamon along with MCTs to your morning coffee to fight off those hunger pangs while you’re fasting. Hunger is without a doubt the hardest battle many faces when they’re dieting and in a caloric deficit.
The better you’re able to reduce those overwhelming feelings of hunger the easier it’ll be for you to stick to your diet. (16) Studies have found cinnamon to be effective for lowering your appetite but the reasons why aren’t exactly clear (17).
Researchers do believe cinnamon can lower your appetite because it mimics insulin (18). Your body may think you’ve already eaten since it’s registering this mimicked increase of insulin.
I like to take this cinnamon fasting tea to reduce food cravings and it makes a delicious weight loss drink.
Cinnamon Improves Insulin Sensitivity
Think of your insulin as the key that unlocks your cells after you eat something so the nutrients can get in.
If you eat too much sugar or high glycemic carbohydrates you can become insulin resistant. This means the key to unlocking your cells doesn’t work so well anymore.
This is how type 2 diabetes happens. Thankfully, cinnamon is a natural herb you can use to improve your insulin sensitivity (19).
Cinnamon has been shown to decrease the amount of glucose that enters your bloodstream after a meal (20). This is great news for those who have type 2 diabetes (or everyone else trying to lose weight) as it’s been shown to improve their insulin function.
Even if you do not have type 2 diabetes you can still get the same weight loss benefits from cinnamon.
Cinnamon has been proven to interfere with numerous digestive enzymes in your body that slow the breakdown of carbs in the digestive tract (21). So the slower your body absorbs these carbs means the fewer blood sugar spikes your body will have.
Crazy blood sugar spikes and crashes inevitably lead to weight and belly fat gains. They cause hormonal releases in the body which essentially turn off your fat-burning metabolism and promote fat storage.
There’s also a compound in cinnamon that can mimic insulin so you will be able to greatly improve the glucose intake by cells. Even though it’s much slower than insulin itself, it can still lower blood fasting sugar levels by 10-29% (22).
Another added bonus for taking cinnamon for weight loss is the increase in energy levels (23). If you ever experience those afternoon crashes they’re often caused by your glucose dropping.
Cinnamon helps to keep stable blood glucose levels throughout the day so you shouldn’t experience a drop off in energy in the afternoon.
Try using cumin for weight loss too as this powerful spice has similar antidiabetic blood glucose balancing effect.
How to Use Cinnamon Sticks for Weight Loss
Did you know there is more than just one type of cinnamon?
Cassia cinnamon is the more common variety found today, and it’s what people are generally referring to when they mean “cinnamon.”
Ceylon cinnamon, known as true cinnamon is much harder to find, more expensive, and has a slightly sweeter flavor.
Which one is better?
If you can find it I would go with ceylon cinnamon. Because the small problem with cassia cinnamon is it has higher concentrations of coumarin, which can be toxic when taken in higher doses (24).
Ceylon cinnamon has lower concentrations of coumarin than cassia cinnamon, but both varieties have many health benefits (25).
How Much Cinnamon for Weight Loss
The awesome thing about cinnamon is how many uses it can have in your daily diet. I can’t think of another spice that has so many benefits and is so versatile.
Here are just a few ideas for how you can have more cinnamon in your diet…
- add cinnamon to your daily coffee/tea
- sprinkle on sweet potatoes
- sprinkle on apples or pears
- add a teaspoon to your breakfast cereal or oatmeal
- sprinkle it on toast
- add into fruit juices or ciders
- mix into a protein shake
- add to my top weight loss drinks
- add to a superfood smoothie
Even this study by UC Davis found that supplementing with cinnamon was just as effective as taking a diabetes drug (26). But I hate to say this but even though I loved Cinnamon Toast Crunch as a kid it isn’t on the Trainer Josh approved foods list! Haha
How Much Cinnamon to Take Per Day?
Now you can take too much cinnamon which will end up leading to health problems. Cassia cinnamon when taken in excess can damage your liver and even increase your risk of cancer. It contains a compound called coumarin which is safe in small to moderate amounts but can be dangerous in excess (27).
If your cinnamon is sourced from cassia then definitely keep it under 1 teaspoon per day.
Ceylon cinnamon only contains trace amounts of coumarin but you still shouldn’t take too much of it. One study published by the Journal of Nutritional Science found taking up to 3g of this kind of cinnamon daily had no adverse effects (28).
Are Cinnamon Pills Good For Weight Loss?
Cinnamon & Honey Weight Loss Drink Recipe
Combining cinnamon water and a teaspoon of raw honey makes a potent weight loss drink that has been making a lot of waves lately.
The truth is there is some validity to it, but there’s also a lot of hype. The truth is both cinnamon water and raw honey have powerful weight loss benefits on their own.
Many people out there claim cinnamon water and raw honey can…
- boost your immune system
- packed with antioxidants
- improve heart disease
- reduce allergies
- help arthritis
- cure diabetes
Even though cinnamon water and a teaspoon of honey on their own have many of these benefits I don’t see it making a whole lot of sense in combining them together. The honey on its own will spike your blood sugar, but when combined with cinnamon water it will help prevent this from happening.
This way you can get all the health benefits of both of these powerful foods without the blood sugar crashes you get by just taking the honey on its own. This will have more benefits for you than drinking a soda or some fruit juices.
If you have a sweet tooth then I’d much rather you drink cinnamon water and raw honey mix than other bad sweet drinks out there. Just be realistic about how much good it will do for you as it alone won’t be a miracle worker.
You can also use some turmeric for losing weight too in addition to cinnamon.
How to make cinnamon tea
One of my favorite drinks I like to enhance Intermittent Fasting is cinnamon tea. It’ll help to lower your appetite so you can make it through your fast longer.
It’s great for improving your insulin function and maintaining healthy blood glucose levels. I like to drink cinnamon tea a couple of hours after starting my fast in the evening as it brings feelings of calmness.
This is the fasting cinnamon tea I like I use. All you have to do is add it to hot or cold water, mix it in and then let it brew.
The Last Word
As you can tell from above there is definitive proof that using cinnamon for your weight loss goal can be quite effective. Cinnamon is a delicious spice with many health benefits including weight loss.
Not only helpful for losing weight but cinnamon can improve body composition, which if you ask me is much more important. You’ll not only lose weight, but you’ll look toned and more attractive than if you just “got skinnier.”
Even though cinnamon is fantastic you should make sure you don’t eat too much of it as very high doses could lead to toxicity (29).
- Cassia: limit to 1/2 tsp (0.5-2g) per day
- Ceylon: limit to 1 tsp (5g) per day
If you’re taking medication then be sure to seek professional medical advice before taking cinnamon. It’s always best to have medical advice when taking medication since adding something to an otherwise healthy diet can still cause side effects.
Cinnamon alone isn’t going to work miracles for weight loss even though it is quite powerful. It should be part of a bigger plan that includes a nutrition system like the one in my Flat Belly Formula program.
If you’re getting the foundation of your nutrition correct then adding cinnamon on top is going to be the extra jet fuel that will push your fat-burning metabolism to another level.
So when it comes to weight and you want to lose it then just grab some cinnamon and use it.
Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and he’s a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) by American Council on Exercise. He’s worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the high school and college levels. He has over 15 years of experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is also the author of The Flat Belly Formula. He strives to bring inspiration and results for people to live healthier lives through smart diet and exercise.