The Cinnamon Diabetes Connection: Is It Real?

*Cinnamon strawYou may have heard that there is a cinnamon diabetes connection, and that cinnamon can help reduce blood sugar levels. There have actually been some pretty informative studies done on this theory, with test subjects taking different levels of cinnamon and measuring their blood sugar levels against those taking a placebo.

Studying the Cinnamon Diabetes Connection

In one 2003 study of the cinnamon diabetes connection, 60 people with type 2 diabetes were given 1, 3 or 6 grams of cinnamon daily and their fasting blood glucose levels were monitored. The results were very positive – fasting glucose levels were reduced 18-29 percent! Imagine being able to lower your fasting blood sugar by one-quarter, simply by adding in cinnamon to your diet. To put it into perspective, one gram of cinnamon is about one-quarter of a teaspoon.

In this same study, not only was blood glucose dramatically lowered, but also triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels were reduced. It is safe to say that daily cinnamon intake can have a very substantial and positive impact on a host of health issues.

In another study, this one published in 2006, the European Journal of Clinical Investigation concludes that, “The cinnamon extract seems to have a moderate effect in reducing fasting plasma glucose concentrations in diabetic patients with poor glycaemic control.”

On the flip side, however, another study has shown that in post-menopausal women at least, cinnamon intake does not affect blood sugar levels at all. In this particular study, only 25 women were monitored, but the “blood lipid profile of fasting subjects did not change after cinnamon supplementation.”

So is the Cinnamon Diabetes Connection Real?
Okay, here’s my take on the issue. I think there is sufficient research to conclude that at the very least, a great possibility for cinnamon supplementation being beneficial exists. It certainly can’t hurt, at least not in any studies I’m aware of.

If you believe that our bodies crave things because they innately sense that we need them, let me tell you that after my last baby was born, when I was recovering from gestational diabetes, I began craving cinnamon like crazy. Even now, five months later, I must have an apple liberally sprinkled with cinnamon after dinner every night. This is purely anecdotal, but I believe the cinnamon diabetes connection is very real. What can it hurt to try?

Ways to Add Cinnamon to Your Diet

Cinnamon goes well with a lot of things. My favorite, of course, is cinnamon sprinkled on apples sliced small – it makes a great snack and doubles as a dessert. If you drink smoothies, you can add your cinnamon there. It even goes well in stir fry and fried rice dishes. Remember, in the first study referenced, all it took was about one-quarter of a teaspoon to see improvement in fasting blood sugar results.

Try adding cinnamon to foods you already eat, such as:

  • Popcorn
  • Oatmeal/breakfast porridges
  • Sliced apples
  • Smoothies
  • Yogurt
  • Fried rice
  • Stir fry vegetables
  • Coffee
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Biscuits

Virtually any sweet or dessert can benefit from a little cinnamon, and cinnamon raisin bread is delightful.

While there may be data to refute the studies that suggest a beneficial cinnamon diabetes connection, I think the evidence is compelling enough that anyone on a diabetic or low carb diet for treating or preventing diabetes would do well to incorporate cinnamon into that diet.

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