In chat the last couple of weeks we have been having a nonsense discussion about how to use a cinnabon to “cure (whatever that means) diabetes”. The reasoning goes like this , if Cinnamon can cure type 2 diabetes it must be ok to eat a full cinnabon and get a good treat and the magic cure.

This is all funny so long as you do not take any of it seriously. After all it is joke. But cinnamon seems to be one of those things that is making the fad market rich and it just won’t stop. The first thing to remember is that no one makes the claim that cinnamon has any effect on type 1 diabetics.

It just doesn’t happen. Fundamentally the two diseases have different causes. They have the same outcome but with different causes. Instead of going into the whole metabolic profile, please trust me they are different.

Various academics have shown that cinnamon can (at least in the very short term) lower blood sugar (Safdar, M., Khan, A., Khattak, M. A. K., & Siddique, M. 2004). A lot of this line of study originated with a seminal 1989 study that showed the effect of short term use of various ingested chemicals. The study titled “Insulin potentiating factor and chromium content of selected foods and spices” (Khan, A., Bryden, N. A., Polansky, M. M., & Anderson, R. A. 1990) received great academic review and was replicated over several years by different researchers. The study found that “our results suggest that cinnamon consumption not only may be beneficial to MetS-related diseases but also might improve intestinally derived lipid metabolism in healthy subjects” (Khan et all 1990). The thing about this study is that even though it is considered a seminal view of the topic, that is one of the original and most cited studies, it is also 23 years old and not truly useful in the question of lower diabetic blood glucose levels.

A more recent and meaningful study was published earlier this year. This meta study (basically review of all recent studies on the topic concluded as follows: “The consumption of cinnamon is associated with a statistically significant decrease in levels of fasting plasma glucose, total cholesterol, LDL-C, and triglyceride levels, and an increase in HDL-C levels; however, no significant effect on hemoglobin A1c was found. The high degree of heterogeneity may limit the ability to apply these results to patient care, because the preferred dose and duration of therapy are unclear” (Allen, Schwartzman, Baker, Coleman, Phung). Therein lays the first rub. While it was noted that using cinnamon does help with many things, it has not been shown to effectively reduce A1c’s.

It may in fact be something like a doppler effect. Something that looks real each morning and is not. Allen also found that the better the glucose control the larger the effect of cinnamon on the fasting blood sugars (Allen et. all, 2013). One might think it would be different namely the loser control diets have the most to gain from using a supplement but that was just not the case.

This is not to say there are not issues. A second major study regarding dietary supplements says that cinnamon should be “avoided if allergic or hypersensitive to cinnamon, its constituents, members of the Lauraceae family, or Balsam of Peru. Use cautiously if prone to atopic reactions or if taking cytochrome P450 metabolized agents, anticoagulants (blood thinners), insulin or blood-sugar-altering medications, antibiotics, or cardiovascular agents. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding” (Ulbricht, 2011). Also one should understand there are two types of cinnamon that most commonly used in studies are:

“Ceylon and Cassia are different and in addition to taste the is coumarin content of Cassia. Cassia cinnamon is the main source of coumarin in the human diet.1 Coumarin is a naturally occurring toxin which has the potential to damage the liver in high doses. Cassia contains high levels of coumarin, whereas Ceylon contains either undetectable levels or only traces of coumarin. Coumarin can cause liver toxicity in several species, and was found to be carcinogenic in rodents.

Recent studies have revealed that regularly consuming Cassia cinnamon powder could be problematic, resulting in potentially harmful levels of coumarin intake. For example, one study estimated that small children eating oatmeal sprinkled with cinnamon a few times a week would exceed the established safe upper limit of exposure. Similarly, they concluded that adults who are heavy consumers of culinary cinnamon or take powdered cinnamon supplements could also reach potentially unsafe doses” (Fuhrman, 2011).

Therefore it can be in certain cases a dangerous proposition. Which brings it back around to our fun little discussion about using cinnabons to cure diabetes. Just for fun I looked up the nutritional information on a typical full size cinnabon. The cinnabon classic has 880 calories, with 320 of those coming from fat. Those 320 calories are produced by 36 grams of fat and now for the killer. It contains 127 carbohydrates (World famous cinnabon nutrition, 2013). I love the 127 carbohydrates. Yeah, pass me three, they sure smell good.

Allen, Schwartzman, Baker, Coleman, Phung, Annals of Family Medicine. Sep/Oct2013, Vol. 11 Issue 5, p452-459. 8p. 1 Diagram, 3 Charts. DOI: 10.1370/afm.1517.

Fuhrman (2011). Choosing the right cinnamon.

Khan, A., Bryden, N. A., Polansky, M. M., & Anderson, R. A. (1990). Insulin potentiating factor and chromium content of selected foods and spices. Biological trace element research, 24(2-3), 183-188.

Safdar, M., Khan, A., Khattak, M. A. K., & Siddique, M. (2004). Effect of various doses of cinnamon on blood glucose in diabetic individuals. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition, 3(5), 268-272.

Ulbricht, Catherine. Journal of Dietary Supplements , 2011, Vol. 8 Issue 3, p239-256, 18p

World famous cinnabon nutrition, (2013)

Excellent Rick!

love it, can I have 4 ?

I guess I will have the apple pie tonight, not the pumpkin seeing as tree is cinnamon in the apple pie.

well said rick! TY

The studies just don't get it! There's a big variable missing. The icing!! You need that warm, carby, drippy cinnabon icing with the cinnamon to cure d :)

LOVE this blog!! Thanks, Rick!!

Darn it, Pup. There’s no icing on apple pie. Hmmmmmm will ice cream be an acceptable substitute?

Pup I totally agree and because I do agree here is some of the nutritional info for a cup if icing.

Calories - 180
Calories from Fat - 100
Carbohydrate - 20 (that surprises me)

Since I have never had one so I would naturally forget to add in the most important part :)

On the plus side, that is only the add-on, the typical cinnabon does have the icing and as such it is part of the basic thing. Now on the plus side I suppose you could eliminate the icing and drop the carbs to 107. Or not.


Me as well Manny. Send me three of those puppies. LOL

From Clare:

Hey rick, I found the recipe for Cinnabons seems simple enough;

1/4 C. butter, melted
1/4 C. water
1/2 package instant vanilla pudding (1/2 of a 3.4 oz. box)
1 C. milk
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbs. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
4 C. bread flour
2 1/2 tsp. yeast

1/2 C. butter, softened
1 C. brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 C. chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 C. raisins (optional)

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 C. butter, softened
1 1/2 C. confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. milk

Rolls: Place ingredients in machine following manufacturer's instructions. Set for dough cycle. After completion of dough cycle, remove from machine and roll out to an approximate 17 x 10-in. rectangle. Filling: Mix together brown sugar and cinnamon. Spread softened butter over dough. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon mixture over top. Roll tightly from long end, pinching edges closed when completely rolled. Slice rolled dough into 1/2-in. slices (or larger if a larger bun is preferred). Place into greased cake pans or a cookie sheet. If using cake pans, use three 9-in. pans. Let rise until doubled. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden. Do not over-bake. Frosting: Spread on very warm rolls.

It is obviously the cure of Diabetes.

I'm with you on that for sure. Time for some "very warm rolls"..... yum