Could cinnamon be used in foods to help prevent weight gain?

29 February 2016  •  Author(s): Victoria White

Several studies have shown that shown the impact of both capsaicin (the pungent ingredient of red chilli pepper) on energy expenditure and fat oxidation and suggest they may help prevent weight gain.


However, to be effective, the capsaicin needs to be consumed in amounts that may not prove to be particularly palatable for even moderate spicy food eaters. The good news is that Nestlé scientists may have identified a cooler alternative to red chilli peppers – cinnamon.

Working with colleagues from the University of Tokyo, they looked at how effectively cinnameldehyde (a cinnamon extract) and capsaicin raised energy expenditure and fat oxidation levels in 15 healthy men.

Obesity results in an imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure, so greater energy expenditure (through exercise or diet) helps prevent weight gain. Through fat oxidation, the body converts fat into energy.

The scientists found that the cinnamon extract significantly increased the men’s energy expenditure. Additionally, the dose of cinnamon extract required was less intense than that of the capsaicin.

While further confirmatory as well as long term studies are needed to assess the impact of a chronic ingestion of cinnamaldehyde, scientists believe that the cinnamon extract could potentially be used in foods to help prevent weight gain.

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