Maybe it’s time to spice up your diet.
A new study has suggested that cinnamon is linked to lower blood sugar in prediabetics whose blood sugar levels are higher than normal, putting them at an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the research involved 18 participants who were overweight or obese for the randomized, double-blind trial.
After two weeks of a low polyphenol “beige” diet consisting of simple carbohydrates and no cinnamon, half of the participants consumed daily supplements totaling 4 grams of cinnamon, while the placebo group took the carbohydrate maltodextrin for four weeks.
This was followed by a two-week “wash out” phase where no pills were taken before swapping groups.
The researchers — using continuous glucose monitoring devices to measure participant’s blood every 15 minutes — found that those consuming cinnamon had lower blood glucose levels and peaks than those who took the placebo.
However, the oral glucose tolerance tests — which use blood samples drawn after fasting, after consuming cola, and again after taking either the cinnamon or placebo pills at four different instances during the trial — yielded no difference between the two groups, likely due to the continuous monitoring being more sensitive, per the study authors.
Experts not involved in the study raised concerns over the use of maltodextrin, saying that it could “cause a glycemic response” and “accentuate the difference” between the groups, per Medical News Today. Further research using a placebo that would not affect blood sugar is necessary, they added.
Kara Collier, RDN, the co-founder and VP of Health at Nutrisense, told The Post that cinnamon has other health benefits as well, such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, although, she noted, “more human studies are needed” to determine the full extent of the spice’s benefits.
Collier told The Post that cinnamon can easily be incorporated into the diet by way of smoothies, savory dishes, yogurt parfaits or cinnamon tea.
Past studies have suggested a link between the spice and low blood sugar; a report published in 2020 found that cinnamon improved blood sugar in prediabetics and slowed the progression of Type 2 diabetes, per CNN.
“I think the bottom line is that cinnamon is a perfect pantry staple, a pleasant spice that can add flavor to foods for minimal calories, with antioxidant properties that may give an edge to those looking to better control their blood sugar,” Lisa Drayer, a registered dietitian, previously told CNN.
“But we need to see more research before we can make any solid health claims linking cinnamon to reduce risk of disease or improved health.”