If you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, you’re not alone. In fact according to PHE figures, children ages 4 -10 are currently consuming more than double the recommended intake of sugar – and the health warnings aren’t doing much to change these figures. and the health warnings aren’t doing much to change these figures.
From 2012 to 2014, adults between ages 18-65 had a diet that consisted of 12.5% sugar, whilst the recommended maximum amount of sugar consumed as part of a balanced diet is 5%.
Due to the over-consumption of sugar, we seem to have grown accustomed to extra large helpings of the stuff, and our bodies have become over-familiar with the sweet stuff.
What Happens When We Eat Sugar?
When we eat something, the body breaks it down into various substances, one of these being glucose. As glucose enters the blood (as ‘blood sugar’), the body tells the pancreas to release insulin into the blood stream, to help mop up the glucose and store it in the liver, muscles and fat cells. The muscles and tissue store this as glycogen, and the fat cells store it as triglycerides. The more glycogen, the more the muscle cells expand, and the more triglycerides, the more the fat cells expand.
In healthy humans, the body’s cells are insulin sensitive, meaning they appropriately take in the right amounts of glucose, which is then used for energy. The more insulin sensitive a person is, the less of it the body needs to produce, as their cells are efficient at absorbing the glucose and using it.
If someone has been consuming sugar a little too regularly however, the body becomes resistant to it. More insulin has to be released into the blood stream to mop up the glucose, and this insulin ends up staying in the blood stream for longer than is healthy. This is what contributes to high blood sugar levels, weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, insomnia, and cardiovascular diseases.
The Cinnamon Solution
So, how do we encourage the body to more efficiently absorb the right amount of glucose? We make ourselves more insulin sensitive, and one simple way to do that is by using cinnamon.
Yes, that kitchen spice you have in your cupboard and occasionally sprinkle on porridge or bake into cakes has the potential to be the fat-burning, blood sugar – reducing key to good health.
Naturally-occurring compounds that have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity include Cr and polyphenols found in cinnamon (Cinnamomon cassia).
A study conducted at Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center found that ‘Subjects with the metabolic syndrome who consume an aqueous extract of cinnamon have been shown to have improved fasting blood glucose, systolic blood pressure, percentage body fat and increased lean body mass compared with the placebo group’.
Tim Ferriss’ book The Four Hour Body also includes using cinnamon as one of the many ‘tricks’ he uses to increase insulin sensitivity and prevent weight gain when consuming a lot of calories, and advises it to help combat insulin’s ‘storage’-like effect on sugar and fat.
So, the next time you’re about to gorge on a sugary dessert, or you know you’ve been over-doing sweet foods and high amounts of carbohydrates, try adding 1 tsp cinnamon to your meal to increase your insulin sensitivity, and remove the sugar from your bloodstream faster.