A new study conducted by the University of Michigan, finds that a compound in cinnamon – cinnamaldehyde – has the ability to improve metabolic activity and cause fat loss. This news could mean the start of a new trend toward including the functional ingredient in food products to appeal to consumers looking to shed pounds naturally.
The study, published in this month’s issue of Metabolism, was conducted on murine adipocytes (fat cells) and human adipose stem cells. The cells were treated with cinnamaldehyde (CA) and their thermogenic and metabolic responses were examined after acute and chronic treatments. What researchers found was that both the mouse adipocytes and human stem cells underwent an autonomous thermogenic and metabolic response from the CA treatments. The study concluded that these findings could help to tackle the obesity problem in the US.
“Given the wide usage of cinnamon in the food industry, the notion that this popular food additive, instead of a drug, may activate thermogenesis, could ultimately lead to therapeutic strategies against obesity that are much better adhered to by participants,” said the authors in the abstract of their study.
Many studies have been conducted on the spice through the years. Cinnamon has been found to have a variety of health benefits, including anti-microbial and anti-parasitic activity as well as the ability to lower blood pressure and blood-glucose levels. The spice is also full of antioxidants, has free radical scavenging properties, anti-inflammatory activity and wound healing properties.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 36.5 percent of US adults were considered obese between 2011 and 2014. Some of the leading causes of preventable death in the US are obesity-related conditions like heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. These new findings can change the dieting industry, leading consumers to reach for natural weight-control products containing cinnamon.
Cinnamon is already used in a variety of foods in the US, although many of these products are high in sugar and fat. Sugary cereals, cinnamon rolls, donuts, lattes and ice cream products are common products in which cinnamon is used. With these new findings, manufacturers have the opportunity to add the spice to healthier products and promote them as weight management foods.
However, manufacturers should know about the two different types of cinnamon available: ceylon and cassia. Cassia cinnamon is more commonly sold in stores and used in a variety of foods, but a study finds that too much of this spice can cause liver damage due to its high coumarin content. Ceylon cinnamon only contains trace amounts of coumarin which makes it a healthier but more expensive choice.
According to a Technavio report, cinnamon is one of the most widely traded spice in the world. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16.2 percent from 2017 to 2021. Last year’s global sales of cinnamon reached a value of US $484 million. These numbers are evident of the current popularity of the spice and can provide a hint of the potential sales value the spice would have after consumers become more aware of its health benefits.