The Honey & Cinnamon Weight Loss Trick
I eat my oatmeal with honey and cinnamon most days in winter, so when I heard the new “honey and cinnamon weight loss trick” I was intrigued. I mean, I have managed to maintain my weight quite well after I dropped 100 pounds after getting married, but I didn’t understand how something like this could work.
Honey, although natural, has calories like any other kind of sugar so I couldn’t imagine a net loss from eating it every day. However, I’m always open minded with these natural remedies and some of my friends swear by it to I wanted to take a look at the science behind it. Read on to learn the facts about the honey and cinnamon weight loss trick.
What are the Claims?
Some of the supposed results of honey and cinnamon for weight loss are rather outrageous such as:
- “helps you to lose weight for about 3 – 5 pounds a week without dieting”
- “If you take the mix in the morning...it increases your metabolic rate and promotes fat burning”
- “In the evening, cinnamon and honey help you avoid night time cravings”
- Eating this regularly will make you “fit and slim”
- “It keeps the fat from sticking”
These claims are really going to draw in anyone who wants to lose weight so I was eager to find out if there is some truth to them.
How to Use Honey and Cinnamon For Weight Loss
First of all I wanted to find out is a teaspoon of honey and sprinkling of cinnamon on my oatmeal an acceptable way to benefit from this “trick” or do you need to concoct some kind of “detox” drink? Depending on what site you go to, there are many different instructions. Some examples include:
Honey Cinnamon Cleanse (from Almost Exactly blog)
1. Use honey and cinnamon in a 1:2 ratio (one part cinnamon, two parts honey)
2. Put the honey in a bowl
3. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over cinnamon
4. Leave to steep for 30 minutes
5. Once the liquid has cooled, add honey (they say that hot liquid will destroy the enzymes in the raw honey)
6. Drink half before going to bed. Cover and refrigerate the remainder.
7. Drink the other half first thing in the morning.
8. You must drink this on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning and right before bed.
Cinnamon Bark Tea with Honey (from Home Remedies For Life)
1. Break a cinnamon stick into pieces
2. Boil 1 ½ cups of water (always start with cold water and never reheat)
3. Pour the boiling water over the cinnamon sticks
4. Allow this to steep for 10 minutes
5. Strain the tea to remove the cinnamon sticks
6. Drink this tea regularly with a teaspoon of honey
Cinnamon Honey Toast
1. Spread honey on toast
2. Sprinkle cinnamon powder on it
3. Eat this regularly use to lose weight
The differences are basically - some say to strain the cinnamon out, some leave it in. Some say never to add any extra ingredients whereas some add tea, lemon, or even spread the ingredients on toast. Some say to drink it at night, in the morning, between meals or before workouts. Some say that heating honey kills its activity, others instruct you to add honey to hot drinks.
The Evidence Behind the Honey and Cinnamon for Weight Loss
The basics of weight loss dictate that you must consume fewer calories than you use up in order to burn fat. Some supplements can help with this by suppressing your appetite (less calories consumed), increasing your metabolism (more calories used) or other effects. Here’s the evidence when it comes to honey and cinnamon for weight loss.
1. Cinnamon May Lower Your Blood Sugar
Some studies suggest that cinnamon can reduce your blood sugar levels. Stable blood sugars can prevent hunger and cravings and keep your energy levels constant. One study had participants eat 1 - 6 grams of cinnamon for 40 days. Results found that cinnamon lowered blood sugar levels by 24%. However, other studies showed no change in blood sugar so your mileage may vary. (source)
2. Replacing White Sugar with Honey Leads to Weight Loss
A study in lab rats compared consumption of honey with just plain sucrose (sugar). The rats on the honey diet experienced weight gain 14.7% lower than on the sucrose diet. Researchers suggested that this was due to a lower food intake of food overall by the honey-eating rats. (source)
I try to replace plain sugar in my diet with honey as much as possible. Not only does it have a nicer taste but honey is healthier in that it has antibacterial and antioxidant properties (source)
3. Honey and Cinnamon Can Prevent Sugar Binges
Most diets make you cut out foods that you enjoy - especially sweet treats. This type of complete elimination can lead to cravings and then binges. Since the honey and cinnamon method allows you to consume a tasty sweet drink everyday, it can help you avoid junk food. 60 calories of honey is better than 250 calories or more in a candy bar.
4. It’s a Great Pre-Workout Boost
Consuming honey before a workout will give you energy as a result of its sugar content. However, it has a lower glycemic index than plain white sugar which means the energy is released more slowly - meaning you can work hard for longer. (source)
Of course you will need to cancel out the 60 calories contained in 1 tablespoon of honey. This is about half a mile on the treadmill. It’s a better choice than a can of soda but I prefer to just time my meals around my workouts so I have enough energy without having to consume anything extra.
5. You Can’t Deny the Placebo Effect
Psychological factors play a huge part in our dieting success. If we could all easily eat less and get 30 minutes of exercise a day, nobody would be overweight. The fact is, comfort eating, cravings and simply enjoyment of food lead us to consume too much.
If we are told that honey and cinnamon drinks will stop our cravings and prevent snacking between meals, chances are that our mind will trick us into experiencing that effect, i.e. placebo. The placebo effect is a real and scientifically proven phenomenon (source) that can certainly help with weight loss.
Overall, I think adding honey and cinnamon to your routine is going to have a very tiny impact on weight loss. If you otherwise have a great plan with portion control and regular exercise, honey and cinnamon may help you cut out processed sugars and avoid binging on sweet things.
If you are eating a high calorie diet and not exercising, honey and cinnamon will probably make you gain weight. This is especially true if you are drinking multiple cups of tea per day with a tablespoon of honey in each. Honey does have calories, and eating too much of it will cancel out the positive effects on your diet.
One type of cinnamon called “Cassia” cinnamon, contains a compound called coumarin which can interact with medications and cause liver damage. Make sure to avoid Cassia cinnamon and always buy from high quality, reputable sources. (source)
If you are taking medicines for diabetes or other ongoing health conditions, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking honey and cinnamon regularly.
I would continue taking honey and cinnamon on my oatmeal daily regardless of the weight loss effects because it tastes delicious. It’s certainly not a miracle weight loss agent, despite what some websites might say but I think it can be a good addition to a healthy diet. Why not try the honey and cinnamon weight loss trick and make your own judgement?