When it comes to weight loss, many long for the quick fix. We are all aware that exercise and a healthy diet are our best bets, but are there any silver bullets?
One of the hottest weight-loss trends today is including honey and cinnamon in your daily diet. People use this combo in tea, eat it straight, or use it as a topping for cereal and other foods. But can you really lose weight just by eating honey and cinnamon?
What's so great about honey?
The very word "honey" is associated with love, vitality, and health. In fact, honey does have many healthful properties. For starters, honey is an antimicrobial agent when used topically. This means that it can prevent bacterial infection, because of its thickness, low pH, and the hydrogen peroxide produced by its enzymes. In fact, research shows that it is highly effective at treating wound infections. It's also good for treating burns, and is as effective a cough suppressant as some over-the-counter medications.
Not all honey is equal
Tualang, Manuka, Ulmo, and Slovenian honeys may have superior health benefits to other kinds of honey. Most can be purchased at health food stores or online.
What's so great about cinnamon?
Aromatic and flavorful cinnamon is at least as old as recorded history. Ancient Egyptians used it for embalming, and by the time of the Roman Empire, it was 15 times more expensive than silver.
Like honey, a number of medicinal properties are associated with cinnamon. Research shows that it has antimicrobial - as well as antiparasitic - effects. It also contains antioxidants, can aid wound healing, and may even lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Also like honey, there's little research to support taking it for weight loss.
Ceylon cinnamon is also known as true cinnamon, Sri Lankan cinnamon, and Mexican cinnamon. It's taken from the inner bark of an evergreen tree commonly grown in Sri Lanka, known as Ceylon when it was under colonial control.
What about weight loss?
While claims abound about the pound-shedding properties of cinnamon and honey, research on this combination is slim. Some studies show promise. For example, one study found that replacing sucrose with honey can help prevent weight gain, while another showed that it can activate hormones that suppress the appetite. But, no studies prove conclusively that cinnamon and honey can help you lose weight.
The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment in Germany reports that even small doses of coumarin, taken for more than two weeks, can cause liver damage, particularly in people who already have liver disease.
Does this mean you should avoid cinnamon? No. But if you're taking cinnamon with honey daily, make sure you're using Ceylon cinnamon, which contains far lower concentrations of coumarin. In powdered form, it's impossible to tell the two spices apart. To ensure you're using Ceylon cinnamon, you may need to purchase it from a specialty spice purveyor, natural foods store, or Mexican market.
A get-thin-quick solution?
While the jury is still out when it comes to weight loss, a daily dose of the mix - one teaspoon of honey and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon in a cup of green tea or boiled water - will at least taste good.