Cinnamon is a plant found in Asia and South America. The bark of the plant is ground into a powder and the spice has been used in food for centuries. Cinnamon has also been used as traditional medicine because of its possible anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Researchers are starting to investigate cinnamon’s role in affecting appetite and in the production of insulin.
Cinnamon’s Effect on Appetite
Cinnamon has a number of potential health benefits. According to the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, cinnamon may help in the treatment of type-2 diabetes because the spice can mimic insulin. Since insulin is the hormone that changes excess sugar into fat, it is reasonable to conclude that cinnamon can help prevent weight gain. Additionally, cinnamon slows down the absorption of carbohydrates in the small intestine, which can helps you feel full longer and decrease appetite.
Insulin Production in Rats
A 2010 study published in the “Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics” investigated the effects of cinnamon on insulin resistance. Rats were fed a high fat and high fructose diet. Some rats also received 20 g of cinnamon. The study found the rats that had cinnamon along with the high fat diet were less likely to accumulate a specific type of fat that was found in rats who were fed the high fat and high fructose diet without cinnamon. Researchers stated the results suggest cinnamon alters body composition and helps improve insulin sensitivity.
Blood Glucose in Humans
A 2007 study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” looked at feelings of satiety and blood glucose levels in healthy humans. Although previous studies had examined the role of cinnamon on people with diabetes, this study used 14 healthy adults. When participants included cinnamon on their rice pudding, researchers found gastric emptying was significantly delayed. Participants noted no difference in their feelings of fullness. The research also found that cinnamon in the diet significantly reduced the postprandial glucose response.
Although studies like the research published in “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," suggest that cinnamon may decrease appetite, Germany’s Commission E has approved the use of cinnamon in increasing appetite. Cinnamon contains hydroxychalcone, a component that can increase appetite, however little research backs this claim. The exact role cinnamon plays in appetite is not known. Cinnamon can be added to beverages like tea and cocoa. Also add the spice to fruit, rice pudding, toast and other foods to regulate blood sugar.
- Drugs.com: Cinnamon
- Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: Cinnamon
- “Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics”; Cinnamon Improves Insulin Sensitivity and Alters the Body Composition in an Animal Model of the Metabolic Syndrome; K. Couturier, et al.; September 2010
- “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition”; Effect of Cinnamon on Postprandial Blood Glucose, Gastric Emptying, and Satiety in Healthy Subjects; Joanna Hlebowicz, et al.; June 2007
- Daily Mail; Nature's Gastric Bands: From Cinnamon to Seaweed, the Foods that Naturally Curb your Appetite and Help you Shed Pounds; Laura Stott; May 2011
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: Cinnamon