6 Ways To Use Cinnamon For Weight Loss, Side Effects, & Tips

Exciting ideas to add that hint of spice to your dieting and wellness routine

Medically reviewed by Dr. Geeta Dharmatti, RD
Written by Charushila Biswas, MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist
Edited by Ravi Teja Tadimalla, BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health
Fact-checked by Aparna Mallampalli, BEd, MSc (Microbiology), Diploma In Nutrition  • 

Cinnamon, obtained from the bark of the Cinnamomum tree, is a spice used in various cuisines as a flavoring agent. If you are wondering what cinnamon is good for, the answer is very broad. It has anti-cancer, antioxidant, antidiabetic, and anti-inflammatory properties(1). According to some recent research, you can use Ceylon cinnamon for weight loss and treating other complications of metabolic syndrome (2), (3). This article discusses how cinnamon, apart from its culinary uses, helps in weight loss, dosage, recipes, and benefits. Keep reading!

protip_icon Trivia
Cinnamon was highly prized among ancient nations and regarded as a gift fit for kings and deities. Cinnamon suppliers in the Mediterranean region prized it so highly that they kept their source of the spice a secret for centuries.

How Cinnamon Works For Weight Loss

  • Cinnamon Induces Browning Of Fat

Brown fat is known as good fat. It contains many lipid droplets and iron-containing mitochondria, which help turn food into a usable energy source. Brown fat also helps keep the body warm by generating heat in cold environments.

Scientists found that cinnamon extract helped increase brown fat in subcutaneous (fat layer under the skin) fat cells (4). This is good for people with belly fat. Belly fat or fat in the waist region is white fat. Consuming cinnamon may help turn the belly fat (white fat) into brown. This, in turn, can be used up to maintain body temperature and as energy. 

  • Cinnamon Improves Insulin Sensitivity

The polyphenols in cinnamon help improve insulin sensitivity. Insulin regulates glucose levels in the blood. When your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or becomes insulin resistant, the blood glucose levels can rise, leading to fat accumulation, obesity, diabetes, and other obesity triggered diseases. Research has confirmed that cinnamon can aid weight loss by alleviating insulin resistance in women with polycystic ovarian disease (5).

This is mainly due to the presence of polyphenols in cinnamon. Almost all the major varieties of cinnamon have high polyphenol content. Chinese cinnamon and Indonesian cinnamon have the highest phenolic content compared to Vietnamese and Ceylon cinnamon. Check out the graph below to learn more about the amount of polyphenols present in all four varieties.

Polyphenol Content Of Cinnamon Extracts

Source: Cinnamon shows antidiabetic properties that are species-specific: effects on enzyme activity inhibition and starch digestion.
  • Cinnamon Lowers Fasting Blood Sugar

Cinnamon helps to lower fasting blood glucose levels. A study conducted by scientists at the University of California-Davis showed that consuming whole cinnamon or cinnamon extract could lower the fasting blood glucose levels and increase insulin sensitivity in patients with type 2 diabetes (6). However, consult your physician about its dosage before using cinnamon for treating diabetes.

  • Cinnamon Lowers Bad Cholesterol And Triglycerides

Jesse Feder, Clinical Dietitian at the Memorial Regional Hospital South, says, “Cinnamon has been shown to potentially reduce LDL or bad cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels and help maintain good glucose levels. This can help prevent arteries from being clogged or damaged, which will prevent the heart from needing to work harder.” Bad or LDL cholesterol tends to accumulate in the walls of the arteries, which, in turn, increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Two separate studies found that cinnamon helped reduce LDL cholesterol, fasting blood glucose, and triglyceride levels (7), (8).

  • Cinnamon Reduces Waist Circumference
Cinnamon helps reduce weight and waist circumference
Image: Created with Dall.E

Belly fat is a serious concern. It results from excessive consumption of calories, leading a sedentary lifestyle, and taking too much stress. Scientists have found that consuming cinnamon can help reduce waist circumference and body weight (9). 

A study was conducted on 786 subjects where the participants were administered more than 2g/d of cinnamon supplement for a little more than 12 weeks. It was seen that cinnamon supplementation decreased body weight by 1.02kg, waist circumference by 2.40cm, body mass index (BMI) by 0.51 kg/m2, and fat mass by 1.02%.

These are the ways cinnamon aids weight loss. But how much cinnamon should you take for losing weight? Find out in the next section.

How Much Cinnamon To Take For Weight Loss

It is safe to take 1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon powder or 1-inch cinnamon bark per day. However, be careful not to go overboard with cinnamon.

protip_icon Quick Tip
It is not uncommon for manufacturers to mix true cinnamon (C. verum) with cassia (C. cassia), which is counterfeit cinnamon, and market it falsely as authentic cinnamon. Therefore, only purchase cinnamon powder from a trusted supplier and check the label carefully.

There are many ways you can consume cinnamon for weight loss. Here are 6 ways to add cinnamon to your food to lose weight fast.

6 Best Ways To Take Cinnamon For Weight Loss

a. Cinnamon & Honey Tea

Image: Shutterstock
Ingredients
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 cup of water
How To Prepare
  1. Boil a cup of water and add cinnamon powder to it.
  2. Keep boiling until the quantity of water reduces to half.
  3. Strain it into a cup.
  4. Add honey and lime juice.
Benefits
  • Lime is a rich source of vitamin C, and it boosts the immune system (10).
  • Honey is a natural antioxidant and has antimicrobial properties (11).

b. Cinnamon And Apple Cider Vinegar

Image: Shutterstock
Ingredients
How To Prepare
  1. Bring a cup of water to a boil and add cinnamon powder.
  2. Turn off the burner immediately.
  3. Allow the water to cool to room temperature.
  4. Add apple cider vinegar and stir well.
How To Prepare
  1. Bring a cup of water to a boil and add cinnamon powder.
  2. Turn off the burner immediately.
  3. Allow the water to cool to room temperature.
  4. Add apple cider vinegar and stir well.
Add apple cider vinegar and stir well.
Benefits

Apple cider vinegar aids weight loss, reduces the risk of diabetes, and aids the treatment of sinusitisi  XInflammation of the tissue lining the sinuses. It is present in the head, around the eyes, and in the nose. , skin, and throat problems (12).

c. Cinnamon Fat Burner Detox Water

Image: Shutterstock
Ingredients
  • 1-inch cinnamon bark
  • 4-5 lime wedges
  • A handful of mint leaves
  • 1 cup water
How To Prepare
  1. Soak the cinnamon bark overnight in a cup of water.
  2. In the morning, transfer the water to a mason jar.
  3. Add chopped mint leaves and lime wedges.
Benefits
  • Lime is a rich source of vitamin C, and it boosts the immune system (10).
  • Mint has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Hence, it is used to treat gut problems, skin problems, allergies, cough, and cold and alleviate pain .

d. Cinnamon And Oats Breakfast

Image: Shutterstock
Ingredients
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • ½ cup banana slices
  • ½ cup fat-free milk
  • ¼ cup oats
  • A pinch of salt
How To Prepare
  1. Boil the fat-free milk and add oats to it.
  2. Cook until the oats become soft enough to eat.
  3. Transfer to a bowl.
  4. Add banana slices and sprinkle the cinnamon powder and a little salt.

Note: Avoid adding sugar if you want to lose weight. Salt balances the flavors as banana renders enough sweetness to the oats.

Benefits
  • Bananas are rich in potassium and are good energy boosters (13).
  • Oats are .rich in dietary fiber. They aid nutrient absorption and reduce abdominal fat (14).

e. Cinnamon And Vegetable Brown Rice

Image: Shutterstock
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup finely chopped carrots
  • ¼ cup peas
  • ½ cup brown rice
  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • ¼ cup finely sliced onion
  • 1-inch cinnamon bark
  • 1 cardamom
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon roasted cinnamon powder
  • A handful of coriander leaves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
How To Prepare
  1. Add oil to a heated pot.
  2. Toss in the cinnamon bark, cardamom, and cloves. Let it fry for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the onions and cook until they turn brown.
  4. Add the ginger and garlic paste. Cook for about a minute.
  5. Add the chopped carrot and peas. Cook for about 2 minutes.
  6. Add the brown rice and stir fry for about 15 seconds.
  7. Add water and salt. Let the rice cook.
  8. Once it is cooked, sprinkle the roasted cumin powder.
  9. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
Benefits
  • Brown rice is loaded with nutrients and dietary fiber, which binds to fat and prevents fat absorption. Brown rice also improves insulin resistance and reduces LDL cholesterol (15).
  • Cardamom aids weight loss, reduces oxidative stress, dyslipidemiai  XA condition caused by unhealthy levels of fats in the blood. It can lead to shortness of breath, heartburn, etc. , and liver damage (16).
  • Clove is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory in nature and protects you from cold and cough (17).
  • Carrots are rich in antioxidants and phenolic compounds. They suppress appetite, promote weight loss, and help prevent cardiovascular diseases (18).
  • Peas are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that lower bad cholesterol, help fight certain types of cancer and prevent neuronal damage (19).
  • Ginger improves digestion, boosts immunity, and helps reduce the risk of colorectal canceri  XA type of cancer that affects the colon and rectum. Its symptoms include fatigue, rapid weight loss, blood from the rectum, etc. (20).
  • Garlic has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and cardioprotective propertiesi  XThe property of substances that help regulate and promote heart health and reduce the risk of a stroke or a heart attack. (21).
  • Coriander has anticancer, analgesici  XThe property of pain-reducing substances that do not induce subconsciousness and enhance the feeling of pleasure and well-being. , anti-inflammatory, lipid-lowering, and antimicrobial properties (22).

f. Bedtime Cinnamon And Turmeric Milk

Image: Shutterstock
Ingredients
  • 1 cup warm fat-free milk
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
How To Prepare
  1. Add cinnamon and turmeric powder to a cup of warm fat-free milk.
  2. Stir well.
  3. Drink this before you go to bed.
Benefits
  • Turmeric has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. It also helps prevent cancer, obesity, and cardiovascular disease (23).
  • Milk is rich in calcium, vitamin D, potassium, magnesium, riboflavin, and vitamin B12. It can help prevent osteoporosis, strengthen your teeth, and reduce blood pressure (24).

g. Cinnamon And Greek Yogurt Parfait

Ingredients

  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey or maple syrup (optional)
  • 1/4 cup fresh berries
  • 1 tablespoon chopped nuts – optional

How To Prepare

1. In a bowl, mix Greek yogurt with ground cinnamon. Add a small amount of honey or maple syrup if you prefer a little more sweetness.
2. In a glass, start by layering a portion of the cinnamon yogurt with fresh berries.
4. Repeat the process with another layer of yogurt, and sprinkle with nuts to give it a final touch.
5. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to enjoy.

Benefits

1. Greek yogurt is rich in protein. It increases satiety and reduces overall calorie intake, in turn, promoting weight loss (25).
2. The probiotics in it contribute to a healthy gut, aid digestion, and improve the body’s ability to absorb nutrients during your weight loss journey (26).

You may also use cinnamon in smoothies, juices, and cakes to enhance the flavor and lose weight.

Apart from aiding weight loss, cinnamon has the following benefits:

Other Benefits Of Cinnamon

Cinnamon has been used in various recipes for thousands of years and is a household name in cooking. It is not only relished in the form of a soothing cinnamon tea and for its beautiful flavor and taste, but it also has many health benefits. Here is a list of the other health benefits of cinnamon:

  • Cinnamon has antimicrobial properties, which protect your body from microbial.
  • It is loaded with antioxidants that scavenge the harmful free oxygen radicals.
  • It helps to lower bad cholesterol in the blood, hence protecting the heart.
  • Cinnamon is anti-inflammatory and helps alleviate joint pain, toothache, and gut inflammation.
  • It can also aid in the treatment of a host of skin-related issues, rashes, and infections.
  • Cinnamon can also help fight cancer as it prevents the proliferation of cancerous cells.
  • It is a natural preservative and sweetener.
  • Cinnamon has also been found to enhance cognition. It improves the brain’s insulin utilizing ability and prevents Alzheimer’s induced changes in the brain.

One of the other reasons why cinnamon helps prevent cell damage and diseases is the presence of high antioxidants. Though the levels of antioxidants vary between different types of cinnamons, they all have significantly high antioxidant properties. According to a study, Indonesian and Chinese cinnamon have higher antioxidant properties compared to Vietnamese and Ceylon cinnamon.

Sangita Passey, a blogger, shares her weight-loss breakfast recipe that contains cinnamon, highlighting the health benefits of each ingredient, including their impact on metabolism and weight loss. She asserts, “It is obvious then that cinnamon, by its action on insulin and glucose metabolism, not only keeps body weight in check but also has cholesterol lowering effects (i).”  Check out the antioxidant potential of various cinnamon extracts below.

Antioxidant Potential Of Cinnamon Extracts

Source: Cinnamon shows antidiabetic properties that are species-specific: effects on enzyme activity inhibition and starch digestion.

Though cinnamon has many health benefits, it does have its share of side effects as well. Find the list below.

Side Effects Of Consuming Excessive Cinnamon

The intake of cinnamon is generally considered safe when consumed in moderation. But, consuming too much cinnamon may cause:

  • Gastrointestinal problemsi  XA condition that causes digestive system disorders. Its symptoms include diarrhea, stomach pain, bloating, and vomiting.
  • Liver disease
  • Skin irritation
  • Nausea
  • Low blood sugar
  • Increased heart rate
  • Premature labor
  • Heating of the body

Cinnamon can also interact with blood thinners like warfarin when taken more than 0.1 mg/kg body weight (1). Additionally, cinnamon may cause allergic contact dermatitis (27). In very rare cases, it may cause hives, itching, and difficulty in breathing. However, there is limited evidence to prove these claims.

Before we come to a close, here are a few takeaway tips:

Useful Tips

  • Do not consume cinnamon if you are allergic to it.
  • Do not consume too much cinnamon per day.
  • To lose weight, eat every 2-3 hours.
  • Keep a check on your meal portion size.
  • If you do not like working out, play outdoor sports or dance to burn the extra calories.

Infographic: Cinnamon Water Recipe

Cinnamon has several health benefits along with weight loss and can be used in various natural remedies. You can add it to your diet in many ways, from preparing tea to adding it to brown rice and vegetables. Check out the infographic below to learn how to prepare cinnamon water.

cinnamon water recipe (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Save the high-quality PDF version on your device now.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

While green tea and lemon juice are popular as weight loss drinks, the benefits of cinnamon for weight loss is gradually gaining some light as well. Known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-diabetic properties, cinnamon can be used to help manage your weight as well. It supports fat burning, which aids in weight management. It seems to be effective in lowering blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels helping to reduce the fat build-up in the body. It also helps reduce your waist circumference by targeting stubborn belly fat. While you can consume 1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon powder or an inch of the cinnamon bark per day, it is important not to go overboard with it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is cinnamon good for kidneys?

Blanca Garcia, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, says, “Cinnamon has strong kidney protective properties mainly because of its antioxidant activity. It prevents renal tubular injuries from happening. Such injuries should be avoided to ensure healthy functioning kidneys.”

Can cinnamon speed up your metabolism?

“Yes, it speeds up metabolism. Cinnamaldehyde, one of the resinous compounds found in cinnamon, improves blood glucose absorption and increases insulin sensitivity. It mimics the effects of insulin, allowing the body to remove glucose from the bloodstream. In addition, cinnamon appears to curb appetite and cravings leading to unnecessary weight gain,” says Blanca Garcia.

Can I drink cinnamon water at night?

Jesse Feder says, “Yes, drinking cinnamon water at night is healthy. Cinnamon water benefits by relaxing the muscles, aids in digestion, boosts metabolism and immunity, and increases feelings of well-being.”

Is cinnamon a laxative?

“Yes, cinnamon is considered a good natural laxative and can promote healthy bowel movements.” says Jesse Feder.

Can I drink cinnamon water on an empty stomach?

Yes. Cinnamon water has beneficial effects on your body and may help reduce weight, inflammation, and oxidative stress.

Should you take cinnamon before or after a meal?

While there is no specified best time to take cinnamon water, taking it after a meal may help reduce blood sugar spikes.

How long does it take for cinnamon to work?

Cinnamon may take around 4 to 18 weeks to reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels (28).

Key Takeaways

  • Cinnamon offers metabolism-enhancing qualities that can help people lose weight.
  • It assists in controlling blood sugar levels, which lessens cravings and overeating.
  • Cinnamon lowers body inflammation, which encourages a healthier weight.
  • It has antioxidant properties that help with weight loss and general wellness.
  • For optimum weight loss results, use cinnamon with a balanced diet and frequent exercise.

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

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