Take a deep breath. Hold it. And tug.
No, we’re not talking about a game of tug of war. We’re talking about you struggling to pull your pant zipper up after the holidays. Desperation has brought you here. At the very start, let’s be clear. It is only diet and exercise that can help you effortlessly pull that wretched zipper up (provided it’s not broken).
Losing weight requires discipline and focus. Having said that, incorporating healthy foods, including a honey cinnamon drink, in your diet can do you a world of good.
Let’s take a closer look at how cinnamon and honey help you take a load off, if at all.
After you chow down on a wholesome (or not), carbohydrate-rich meal…
…your blood glucose levels increase. Your pancreas recognizes this increase and produces insulin, an enzyme that removes excess blood glucose, stabilizing it. Depending on how much glucose there is, your body can react in one of three ways:
1. Use the glucose as an immediate energy source (like if you need to run, literally, run to the grocery store)
2. Convert glucose to glycogen and store it in the liver and muscles—when glucose is in excess of an immediate need
3. Convert glucose to fat for long-term storage in fat cells—when glucose is in excess of excess
Cinnamon controls the entire glucose situation by preventing the ‘excess of excess’ phase. It does this by intervening at two points of the process.
1. Cinnamon retains food for a longer time (longer than normal) in the stomach.1
Cinnamon allows glucose to leave the stomach and enter the bloodstream intermittently and in small doses, delaying and reducing the amount of glucose available in your blood. This prevents the liver from suddenly feeling overburdened…
…and going into a glucose-to-fat-conversion panic attack.
That is a whole lot of fat storage dodged!
2. Cinnamon contains a compound called methylhydroxychalcone (MHCP) that mimics insulin.2
MHCP helps in glucose uptake from the blood and subsequent glycogen synthesis just like insulin does. Also, the combined glucose regulating effects of cinnamon and insulin are greater than by just adding them individually.
A daily intake of <1 gm is likely to be beneficial in controlling blood glucose and lipid levels.
Is there any documentation in favor of cinnamon’s fat loss claim?
One study showed that an intake of 1, 3, or 6 gm of cinnamon per day reduces serum glucose (remember how blood glucose is related to fat?), triglyceride (main constituent of body fat), LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol), and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes.3 Less body fat is nothing but good news. And what does it? Cinnamon does!
Another study using cinnamon extract showed a small, but statistically significant decrease in body fat (0.7%) over a period of 12 weeks.4 While we may have had you at ‘decrease,’ shift your attention to 0.7% and 3 whole months! The tortoise did win, but do you have the time and patience he did?
Being almost twice as sweet as table sugar, you need to add only half the amount of table sugar to achieve the same level of sweetness. This means 1/2 teaspoon of honey is as sweet as 1 teaspoon of sugar. However, calories-wise this 1/2 spoon of honey is equivalent to 1 of sugar.
Then why substitute sugar with honey at all?
- Honey has a lower glycemic index than sugar. This means it is gradually absorbed by the body and doesn’t cause a sugar rush like sugar does.
- Unlike table sugar (way too often called empty calories), honey packs a truckload of nutrients (B vitamins, potassium, zinc, iron, antioxidants, amino acids, minerals, and proteins) and antioxidants.
What about scientific proof?
Research has been conducted on individuals with elevated health risks and diabetics to study the effects of honey on body weight and body fat. 56It was concluded that honey causes a mild reduction in body weight (1.3%) and body fat (1.1%)…
…while also lowering total cholesterol and cardiovascular risk factors and increasing the good cholesterol. All this at the end of 30 days.
A word of caution…
Diabetics and obese individuals need to be careful while consuming honey as it increases blood sugar levels.7
Here’s what you do…
Organic: So you ensure you’re having the ‘real’ deal.
When the water is cool: So you don’t break up the nutrients and enzymes in honey.
If you’re lazy and see yourself making no effort to lose weight by exercising in the near future, or for that matter even a year from now, go ahead and sip on your sweet-spicy honey cinnamon drink as you continue to slouchingly game or watch Netflix. That 0.7 to 1.1% over a month or three is what you need, in the least. If you’re the proactive type who would give in a 200% to trim your figure, sip on your honey cinnamon drink for a whole lots of other benefits without expecting miraculous and visually evident weight loss from it.
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References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Hlebowicz J, Darwiche G, Björgell O, Almér LO. Effect of cinnamon on postprandial blood glucose, gastric emptying, and satiety in healthy subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007.|
|2.||↑||Jarvill-Taylor KJ, Anderson RA, Graves DJ. A hydroxychalcone derived from cinnamon functions as a mimetic for insulin in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. J Am Coll Nutr. 2001.|
|3.||↑||Alam Khan, Mahpara Safdar, Mohammad Muzaffar Ali Khan, Khan Nawaz Khattak, Richard A. Anderson. Cinnamon Improves Glucose and Lipids of People With Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care 2003.|
|4.||↑||Tim N. Ziegenfuss, Jennifer E. Hofheins, Ronald W. Mendel, Jamie Landis, Richard A. Anderson. Effects of a Water-Soluble Cinnamon Extract on Body Composition and Features of the Metabolic Syndrome in Pre-Diabetic Men and Women. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2006.|
|5.||↑||N. Yaghoobi, Noori Al-Waili, M. Ghayour-Mobarhan, S. M. R. Parizadeh, Z. Abasalti, Z. Yaghoobi, F. Yaghoobi, H. Esmaeili, S. M. R. Kazemi-Bajestani, R. Aghasizadeh, Khelod Y. Saloom, and G. A. A. Ferns. Natural Honey and Cardiovascular Risk Factors; Effects on Blood Glucose, Cholesterol, Triacylglycerole, CRP, and Body Weight Compared with Sucrose. The Scientific World Journal. 2008.|
|6.||↑||Mohsen Bahrami, Asal Ataie-Jafari, Saeed Hosseini, Mohammad Hasan Foruzanfar, Mazaher Rahmani & Mohammad Pajouhi. Effects of natural honey consumption in diabetic patients: an 8-week randomized clinical trial. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. 2009.|
|7.||↑||Katsilambros NL, Philippides P, Touliatou A, Georgakopoulos K, Kofotzouli L, Frangaki D, Siskoudis P, Marangos M, Sfikakis P. Metabolic effects of honey (alone or combined with other foods) in type II diabetics. Acta Diabetol Lat. 1988.|