When I think of cinnamon I immediately think of sweet treats, such as cinnamon whirls; childhood treats that I would now associate with putting on weight. But what if your favourite spice actually could be really good for you and in fact help you to shift a few of those stubborn pounds, especially from around your abdomen.
Cinnamon is a bark-derived spice that can play a significant role in the regulation of blood sugar levels.
Recently, studies have taken place around the world suggesting that cinnamon can be used as an insulin mimicker, resulting in it helping you to potentially lose weight.
What is an insulin mimicker?
Cinnamon improves insulin sensitivity in the body by diverting carbohydrates to be stored in muscles rather than as fat around the body, which leads to an increase in muscle mass and a reduction in fat gains. Insulin is a key hormone involved in the storage of nutrients, in the form of glycogen, in the liver and muscles, and triglycerides in fat.
When cinnamon is used as an insulin mimicker, it will escort the sugars you digest from carbohydrates around your body and place them in the appropriate areas where they are needed for recovery – how very clever!
When insulin production is lowered you have a greater production of glucose from the liver which lessens the utilisation of glucose in fat and muscle.
So why should you add cinnamon into your post workout shake?
According to Dr Warren Willey (Better Than Steroids, 2007) cinnamon can assist insulin in pushing the nutrients from you post-workout shake and deliver them to you muscles quicker than a normal shake without cinnamon due to its insulin mimicking properties. Your post-workout nutrition then becomes a lot more effective as it increases protein synthesis, transportation of amino acids and reduces the breakdown of proteins, all of which enables your muscles to start recovering more quickly from training. Not only is it important to reduce insulin levels as quickly as possible after training, to aid muscle growth, but it is also important to eliminate as much fat storing as possible in your muscles. For it to be effective you should use 3-6g of cinnamon per shake.