This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT
There are all these supposedly magic weight loss ingredients that don’t actually work. Is cinnamon actually good for weight loss?
Cinnamon is a popular spice used in a wide variety of dishes ranging from cinnamon rolls to cinnamon tea. This spice has been around for thousands of years and many people attribute many health benefits to it.
Find out whether weight loss is one of the benefits of cinnamon or if this is just one of those stubborn myths.
How is cinnamon made?
The name cinnamon is used for multiple tree species, some of these are used to produce the spice you can buy in stores.
The spice cinnamon is obtained from the inner bark of some of these tree species.
There are 2 main different kinds of cinnamon, obtained from different trees. “Ceylon cinnamon” and “cassia cinnamon”. This difference is important when it comes to the possible effects on your health.
Cinnamon nutrition info
Before talking about any potential calorie burning properties, it is important to be reminded that cinnamon is still just a food you eat.
Only 2 grams, a teaspoon, of cassia cinnamon contains the following nutrients (1):
- Calories: 6.2 calories
- Fiber: 1.3 grams
- Manganese: 22% of the DV (Daily Value)
The main remarkable value here is the amount of fiber. One teaspoon or cinnamon contains more fiber than for example 100 grams of cantaloupe.
Fiber has multiple benefits for weight loss. First of all, it feeds your microbiome, the microbes that live in your intestines. The health of your microbiome influences your body’s health and weight. Feeding it well is usually not a bad idea.
Fiber also helps you feel less hungry without adding a lot of calories to your diet. Hunger and cravings can be a big pitfall for people trying to lose weight, so avoiding this is a big plus.
Now the cantaloupe will most likely be more filling because of the water in it but the amount of fiber in cinnamon is still interesting.
Reasons why cinnamon may benefit weight loss
When you hear a claim like cinnamon being good for weight loss you hope that the statement comes from at least some findings and not just out of thin air. Luckily for cinnamon there seem to be some reasons to believe that cinnamon may be beneficial for weight loss.
One study found that cynnamaldehyde, a substance in cinnamon, may activate thermogenesis, a process that makes your body burn more calories (2). This is not any decisive proof but maybe a preview of the weight loss potential of cinnamon.
Other human and mouse studies have findings that cinnamon may help with controlling blood glucose levels (3, 4, 5). It is not entirely clear exactly how much blood glucose levels influence weight gain and loss. Again not decisive proof but something that can only be neutral or beneficial for weight loss.
Will cinnamon help you lose weight?
The proof for cinnamon being a remarkable weight loss booster is not that strong.
The fiber in cinnamon is beneficial for weight loss. Improving the taste of your food may help you stick to your weight loss routine.
Other potential weight loss benefits of cinnamon are not something you can rely on.
Cinnamon is not something you should focus too much on. You will need other lifestyle changes to see significant weight loss results. If you like the taste of cinnamon you can add it to dishes and drinks to potentially get a little more weight loss.
How much cinnamon should you take for weight loss?
This is where the difference between Ceylon and cassia cinnamon starts to matter. Cassia cinnamon contains decent amounts of a substance called coumarin. Coumarin consumed over long amounts of time may lead to liver damage (6).
The amount of coumarin in cassia cinnamon is higher than in Ceylon cinnamon. Store-bought cinnamon is often the cassia type. It’s harder to overeat on coumarin with cinnamon than if you would eat pure coumarin but you may want to limit daily cinnamon intake anyway.
Depending on your weight even 1 teaspoon of cassia cinnamon daily may cause side effects. If you plan on consuming cinnamon daily you might want to buy Ceylon cinnamon which contains a lot less coumarin.
Different ways to consume more cinnamon
If you have Ceylon cinnamon there are multiple ways you can consume more cinnamon by adding it to some of the following dishes:
- Adding it to your brewed coffee or to your coffee grounds before brewing it
- Cinnamon tea which comes down to soaking a cinnamon stick together with tea in heated water
- With some fruits like apples and bananas that combine well with cinnamon
If you are looking to lose weight you want to avoid dishes with cinnamon like cinnamon rolls, cake, and most other baked goods.
Some people also claim that cinnamon with honey is a magical combination but there is not enough evidence to believe that. And honey is still high in calories and not very filling.