Cinnamon and Diabetes
Diabetes is one of the most common diseases for middle-aged people. With blood sugar levels that could spike for many reasons, food intake is highly scrutinized. As all foods possess their unique carb and sugar content, only some selected foods are considered safe for people with diabetes.
The treatment of diabetes majorly involves taking a lot of medication and insulin injections to reduce sugar levels. However, some foods and spices like cinnamon are acknowledged to affect blood sugar levels, as seen in cinnamon and diabetes reports. Stick with us as we walk you through the various benefits and risks associated with the consumption of cinnamon.
- Protein 4 g
- Carbohydrate 81 g
- Fat 1.2 g
- Fiber 53 g
- Sugar 2.2 g
- Cholesterol 0 g
What Type of Cinnamon Is Best for People with Diabetes?
Although many cinnamon species exist, only four are recognized as spices. They include the following:
Cassia cinnamon (Chinese cinnamon or Cinnamomum cassia)
Ceylon cinnamon (True Cinnamon or Cinnamomum verum)
Cinnamomum burmannii (Indonesian Cinnamon)
Saigon cinnamon (Vietnamese cinnamon or Cinnamomum loureiroi)
While cinnamon might possess sugar-lowering properties, it is essential to pay attention to the type you add to your food. Of the four, cassia cinnamon is often considered safe for diabetics due to its relatively lower coumarin content than others — a compound with toxic effects like liver damage when consumed in large doses.
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What Research Says About the Anti-Diabetic Effect of Cinnamon
The effectiveness of cinnamon in lowering diabetics’ blood sugar levels is a controversy that is yet to be resolved. Over the years, researchers have shared different opinions on this food spice’s effectiveness in taming diabetes, as we will observe below.
According to 2013 research conducted on 70 type 2 diabetes patients, there were no observed blood sugar-lowering effects. Specifically, no notable difference was seen in both cinnamon and placebo-treated groups' fasting blood sugar (FBS) and HbA1C levels. Although this study concluded that cinnamon was ineffective in managing diabetes, other studies present contradicting opinions.
Cinnamon has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, as seen in a 2014 research conducted on the brain of mouse models. Namely, there were remarkable improvements in glucose tolerance and FBS levels. Reinforcing these claims is yet another study referenced from Diabetes Care, an American Diabetes Association (ADA) journal, where the consumption of 1–6 g of cinnamon was seen to reduce blood glucose levels and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes. This is a groundbreaking discovery, given that diabetes is often associated with complications like cardiovascular diseases, of which high cholesterol level is a predisposing factor.
In addition, cinnamon dampens the high blood sugar effect associated with the consumption of high-carb foods, as highlighted by a 2007 study on cinnamon and diabetes. It was discovered that 6 g of cinnamon ingested alongside 300 g of rice pudding reduced postprandial blood glucose levels without affecting satiety.
Cinnamon also has antioxidant properties that reduce oxidative stress — a key player in developing diabetes cardiovascular complications. According to a recent study on obese/overweight people with impaired fasting glucose, including water-soluble cinnamon compounds in their diet, potentially reduces the risks of cardiovascular diseases due to diabetes.
How Can People with Diabetes Consume Cinnamon?
Cinnamon is safe for diabetics but not for individuals with liver problems. Hence, it’s best to consult your doctor on the safe amount for you to consume daily. Nonetheless, here are some exciting ways you might want to try:
- Drink water infused with the spice;
- Replace sugar in your diet with cinnamon;
- Add the powder to tea and coffee;
- Use it as a flavoring in healthy foods like oatmeal.
While the positive effects of cinnamon on diabetes are still being deliberated, you can still include it in your diet as long as you don’t have liver diseases. However, it is advised you speak to your physician before you do so.
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