Including a cinnamon and honey tea in our diet can aid in reducing our weight, but it is dependent on how we eat. One of the properties of cinnamon is to generate a sense of satiety or fullness. If we produce our meals on the basis of how hungry we feel and stop eating when we feel satisfied, this can reduce our dietary intake. If we continue to make our meals the same size and consume all of each, no matter whether we feel hungry or not, then we are less likely to loose weight and may well gain weight because of the additional glucose we are imbibing from the honey component of the tea.
Cinnamon is a complex spice with many health benefits. It is recommended in the diet of people suffering from diabetes mellitus (DM) type II, a condition that overweight and particularly obese people are considerably more prone to than those of a standard body mass index (BMI). This is because, while the process is still unclear, obesity seems to increase what is called insulin resistance.
Insulin is the hormone that triggers glucose uptake by the cells of the body; when insulin resistance occurs, the body's cells take in less glucose than they should for the amount of insulin present in the blood and interstitial (between cells) fluid. Cinnamon both increases cell uptake of glucose and the formation of glycogen in the liver. Glycogen is a complex polysaccahride composed of multiple glucose molecules; the liver and muscle cells combine glucose molecules to form it when glucose levels in the blood are high, commonly referred to as a high blood sugar level. Therefore, including an appropriate amount of dietary cinnamon increases the health of our body's cells and aids the maintenance of optimal blood sugar levels in the blood.
This is the reason for mixing honey with the cinnamon in the tea. The predominant component of honey is glucose. By providing both at the same time, the body gets a significant amount of glucose in the blood at the same time as it receives a greatly enhanced ability to absorb it into its cells and process any excess into appropriate storage. Otherwise, excessive glucose in the blood gets converted into lipids (fats) and stored as such.
In addition, cinnamon is an antioxidant, predominantly through one of its major compounds, eugenol. It neutralizes free radicals, particularly one of the most common, hydroxyl; both within and outside cells. Free radicals cause significant damage within cells, potentially causing cancers, and without, damaging blood vessels and organs. The combination of increasing glucose uptake into cells and thus their available energy, and inhibiting free radicals, improves cell function and our overall metabolism. The better our metabolism is working, the more it will use what we are eating rather than storing it as fat.
Recent research has also indicated that cinnamon water extract, or cinnamon tea, activates two types of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), alpha and gamma. PPAR-alpha stimulates the brown adipose tissue (brown fats) and some liver functions, lowering triglycerides and elevating high density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in blood plasma. HDL-cholesterol is the "good" cholesterol that protects blood vessel walls. Triglycerides are the primary component of most fats and oils; when blood levels are high it puts significant stress on the heart and increases their absorption into adipose (fat) tissue for storage.
PPAR-gamma lowers insulin resistance, a major contributor to diabetes mellitus type 2, and increases the metabolism of lipids (fats) in adipose tissue. Adipose tissue is commonly called simply fat. What this means is that the fat stored in each adipocyte (fat cell) starts being used or "burnt" within the cell instead of just being stored there.
The combined result of the increased activation of PPARs alpha and gamma is a healthier cardiovascular system, increased use of dietary carbohydrates and lipids so that less will be stored as fat, and increased "burning" up of lipids that have already been stored as fat.
While not directly relating to weight loss, recent studies indicate cinnamon may also be beneficial to those with cancer. A 2009 study on cinnamon's anti-tumor properties done using melanoma tumors in Korea, found it beneficial in two ways. Cinnamon significantly slowed tumor growth by inhibiting the formation of new blood vessels within the tumor structure and boosted the cytotoxic (cell killing) activity of our immune system's T-cells, enabling them to kill tumor cells more rapidly.
The most recommended manner of including a cinnamon and honey tea is to imbibe one cup a day, half just before bed and half upon waking. Put a half a teaspoon of cinnamon, powder or crushed, into a cup and fill with boiling water. Allow to sit for 30 minutes, then stir in a teaspoon of honey. If you can afford one of the quality honeys known for its own health giving benefits, such as manuka honey, all the better. Drink half just before retiring for the night. Cover the cup and either leave it next to your bed or in the fridge, either is fine. Drink the other half when you wake.
If you find any suspensions and dregs not to your taste, it is perfectly okay to filter the tea before consumption; the goodness is in the liquid. In scientific research studies it is called cinnamon water extract, commonly we just call it cinnamon tea.
Our body's perform maintenance and repair primarily while we are sleeping. By taking half a cup just before we sleep, we supply our cells with an energy boost that supports their maintenance work. By taking the other half a cup as soon as we wake up, we supply them with a quick energy boost to get them prepared for the day; which improves their functionality right through our busy schedule.
Remember, while adding a cup of cinnamon and honey tea to your daily diet will benefit you health-wise, it may NOT help you lose weight if you continue to eat the same amount regardless of your appetite. It is best if you prepare meals that can be refrigerated and reheated. Initially prepare your normal sized meal, but stop eating when you are satisfied and refrigerate the rest. Later in the week when you have enough leftovers, you can have a smorgasbord meal composed of those. Once you have determined how much you now require per meal, you can reduce the size of the proportions you prepare appropriately.
Kirkham, S., Akilen, R., Sharma, S. & Tsiami, A. (2009) The potential of cinnamon to reduce blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism 11(12): p1100-1113.
Kwon, H., Jeon, W., Hwang, J., Lee, C., So, J., Park, J., Ko, B. & Im, S. (2009) Cinnamon extract suppresses tumor progression by modulating angiogenesis and the effector function of CD8+ T cells. Cancer Letters 278(2): p174-182.
Sheng, X., Zhang, Y., Gong, Z., Huang, C. & Zang, Y. (2008) Improved insulin resistance and lipid metabolism by cinnamon extract through activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors. PPAR Research, 2008: p1-10.
Ziegenfuss, T., Hofheins, J., Mendel, R., Landis, J. & Anderson, R. (2006) 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 3: p45-53.