Why Cinnamon Does Not Break a Fast

If you want to know if cinnamon can break your fast, then the answer will largely depend on why you’re intermittent fasting.

Cinnamon is a tasty, sugar-free spice with a lot of health benefits, and it would be great to have some during your fasting period. But knowing exactly what will break your fast can be unclear and confusing.

The last thing you want to do is unknowingly break your fast and ruin your results just by having a little cinnamon. Here, we’ll clear the air and answer definitively if cinnamon breaks your fast or not.

Is Intermittent Fasting Ruined by Cinnamon?

Quick Answer: No, having a little cinnamon does not break or ruin your fast. A teaspoon of cinnamon only contains 6 calories and 2g of carbohydrates (mostly as fiber). This is so small and insignificant that having a teaspoon of cinnamon when fasting will not cancel your results, especially if you’re mainly fasting for weight loss.

Unless you’re a fasting purist or following a strict water fast, intermittent fasting allows little leeway. If your main goal is weight loss, you don’t have to be as strict with your fasting period.

Intermittent fasting isn’t like an on/off light switch. A handful of calories isn’t going to shut down and ruin all the benefits. There’s, in general, a “50-calorie rule” proposed by Dr. Fung that allows a very small amount of calories during your fasting window without negating the benefits.

This is more commonly known as “dirty fasting.” Dirty fasting makes intermittent fasting more sustainable for most people in the long run. Knowing you can have some coffee with a little cinnamon in it makes it easier to get through your fasting window every day.

And there are certain ingredients that you can have during your fasting period that benefit your fast and can accelerate results. Cinnamon is a spice that has positive health benefits and can boost your results by enhancing blood sugar control.1

Taking Cinnamon on an Empty Stomach

Having a teaspoon of cinnamon on an empty stomach actually has its health benefits. Ayurveda medicine actually recommends taking cinnamon with water on an empty stomach to maximize its results.

The benefits of cinnamon on an empty stomach include:

  • Soothes indigestion issues2
  • Reduces bloating and gas3
  • Increased metabolic health4
  • Reduced cravings
  • Improved blood sugar control
  • Reduces inflammation

Cinnamon is most beneficial towards the end of your fast (30-60 minutes before breaking the fast). Cinnamon contains the Methylhydroxychalcone Polymer (MHCP), which increases glucose metabolism 20x.5 This means your body doesn’t need to spike insulin as much to process carbs.

I take IC-5 about 30 minutes before breaking my fast. It contains cinnamon along with other ingredients like Chromax and berberine that will blunt the insulin spike. And these ingredients also make it easier for your body to handle sugars and carbs for fuel instead of being stored as fat.

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Adding cinnamon (or a cinnamon stick) to your coffee is actually a wise alternative to sugar or milk. Cinnamon contains significantly fewer calories and no sugar. Adding some cinnamon to coffee can help you stop eating sugar while still “tricking” your body into thinking you’re having sweetened coffee.

Ceylon cinnamon (“true cinnamon”) is the best form of cinnamon. It contains way less levels of coumarin, which can be toxic in high amounts. It also has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.6

The reason why you wouldn’t want to have a big spoonful of cinnamon at a time is due to it containing coumarin. Cassia cinnamon is the more commonly used cinnamon type that contains coumarin. Coumarin is linked to liver damage and an increased risk of cancer.7 But ceylon cinnamon only has very small amounts of this compound so it’s the better option.

If you don’t like coffee, you can also have hot cinnamon tea. Plain cinnamon chai tea contains only a very tiny amount of calories, so it won’t break your fast.

Cinnamon and Ketosis

So, a teaspoon of cinnamon won’t break your fast, but will it kick you out of ketosis?

Ketosis is a metabolic state when your body starts using body fat for fuel instead of sugars and carbs. When your body runs out of sugars and carbs for fuel, it’ll start converting fat stores into an energy source called ketones.8

You’ll need to fast for at least 12 hours to start putting your body into a state of ketosis. The longer you fast then, the deeper state of ketosis you’ll be in.

One of the primary goals of intermittent fasting is to keep your insulin levels as low as possible. Ideally, you won’t have sugars or many carbs during your fasting window to prevent an insulin spike that could break ketosis.

Cinnamon only contains 2g of carbohydrates in a teaspoon (fiber), so it shouldn’t cause an insulin spike that would stop ketosis. Plus, cinnamon enhances insulin sensitivity and slows stomach emptying. Cinnamon can also prevent some enzymes from breaking down carbs in your small intestine.9

All of the above make cinnamon a fantastic spice to have when fasting. It not only helps to satisfy a sweet tooth but also improves blood sugar control and blunts insulin spikes from eating carbs and sugars. And a small teaspoon of cinnamon won’t stop ketosis.

It’s best to have a low-carb meal as your last meal before starting your fast since it takes 12+ hours for your body to really start ramping up ketosis. If you eat too many carbs and sugars, it’ll take longer for your body to get rid of them before you become ketogenic.

Taking C8-MCTs during your fast can help to kickstart the ketogenic process. C8-MCTs are quickly and efficiently converted into ketones and help trigger the “metabolic switch” to burning fat stores for fuel.10 And they won’t break your fast.

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Cinnamon and Autophagy

Can cinnamon stop autophagy? Autophagy is your body’s natural process of recycling and eliminating old damaged cells. It helps to lower inflammation, fight diseases, and improve healthy longevity.11

Autophagy really doesn’t start up until you’ve been fasting for at least 16 hours. When you’ve been fasting this long your cells are under more stress, which activates the autophagy process.12

Water fasting increases autophagy the most since it decreases mTOR. mTOR is a nutrient sensor that tells when your body should activate autophagy.13 But mTOR increases whenever you eat something, which will generally stop autophagy.

Protein, BCAAs, sugars, and fats all increase mTOR to the point it’ll shut down autophagy. But a small teaspoon of cinnamon alone isn’t really enough to significantly increase mTOR and deactivate autophagy.

There aren’t enough calories or macronutrients in cinnamon to raise insulin levels to the point it’ll activate mTOR. If autophagy is your goal with fasting, it’s best to limit cinnamon to 1-2 teaspoons when fasting.

While calories are minimal, there are still calories in it, and consuming too much cinnamon can stop autophagy.

What Spices Don’t Break Intermittent Fasting

ginger cinnamon and turmic spices
3 Best Spices for Intermittent Fasting: Ginger, Cinnamon, Turmeric

Spices, like cinnamon, are a smart nutrient to add during your fasting window without breaking your fast. Certain spices have health benefits that can accelerate your fasting results.

Turmeric, the vibrant yellow spice, contains a powerful anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin. Curcumin is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.13 Adding turmeric during your fasting routine won’t break your fast since it’s so low in calories (8 calories per teaspoon).

Ginger is another spice that’s well known for its anti-inflammatory and digestive health benefits.14 It’s better to use ginger powder rather than the root. Ginger boosts lipolysis (fat burning) due to it containing gingerol and shogaol, two compounds found to increase metabolism.15

cinnamon turmeric ginger tea drink fasting

Here’s an intermittent fasting fat-burning tea recipe you can use while fasting to increase fat-burning, improve digestion, and lower inflammation…

I just heat up the water, then add the lemon juice and the powders. Mix thoroughly and allow to cool to drinking temperature.

Summary

So, taking cinnamon during your intermittent fasting period will not break your fast. In fact, there are benefits to taking it during your fasting window.

It’s best to take cinnamon about 30-60 minutes before breaking your fast. Cinnamon will help blunt and prevent a high insulin spike after eating. This first meal you have to break your fast can spike your blood sugar higher than normal, so taking cinnamon beforehand can help reduce it.

Be sure to search out and get Ceylon cinnamon. It’s a little harder to find than the more commonly found cassia cinnamon, but cassia cinnamon contains higher amounts of the toxic compound coumarin. Ceylon contains significantly less coumarin compared to cassia cinnamon.

1-2 tsp of cinnamon during your fasting window shouldn’t break or negatively impact autophagy. Cinnamon doesn’t really contain any carbs other than fiber. It also has a strong anti-insulin-spiking effect, both of which will keep you in a state of ketosis.