You’ve heard it before I know. Cinnamon – a natural treatment for diabetes! Is it true?
Hi Welcome back to DiabetesEvery Day, I’m registered dietitian nutritionist and diabetes care and education specialist Toby Smithson. Please remember to hit the subscribe button and sign up for my newsletter at diabeteseveryday.com.
In today’s video we are going to talk about cinnamon and diabetes. Himmm I love the smell of cinnamon and also love using it as a flavoring in my morning oatmeal and other foods. I love the smell and taste of cinnamon!
I’ve been getting the question about cinnamon and its effects on blood sugar levels, so let’s take a look at what the science based evidence shows about using cinnamon as a treatment for managing diabetes.
Cinnamon comes from the inner bark of Cinnamomum trees. It’s actually important to know that there are two main types of cinnamon, Ceylon from Sri Lanka which is considered a “true cinnamon” and Cassia which is a less expensive cinnamon. Here’s why…..
Cinnamon contains bioactive ingredients including antioxidants, and some studies have shown health benefits to cholesterol and triglyceride levels, to blood pressure, and modest improvements in post meal blood glucose spikes and fasting blood glucose levels. Studies looking at A1C – a measure of average blood sugar levels – have been inconclusive, however.
Things get a little tricky when we start talking about how much to take. One study showed that taking 1 ½ teaspoons of cinnamon with rice…..that’s about 6 grams…led to slower digestion of the rice and a lower blood sugar spike. But the European Food Agency has set the daily intake limit for Cassia cinnamon at ½ teaspoon per day – 2.5 grams – due to a compound called coumarin. Cassia cinnamon has about 250 times the coumarin as Ceylon, and coumarin is suspected of causing liver damage at high doses. Can you tell the difference between Ceylon and Cassia? Do you trust unregulated supplement labels?
My advice….use cinnamon regularly to flavor your foods….it is fantastic stuff. But, even under the best circumstances it is not a treatment for diabetes. Having some protein or fat along with that bowl of rice instead of 6 grams of cinnamon will lower blood sugar spikes too. And if you’re thing about the higher dose supplements, talk to your doctor first.,