San Francisco Bay Area resident Patrick Totty writes about his experiences living with type 2 diabetesSee all posts »
Conflicting Views on Cinnamon for Type 2
There’s a story about a monastery in the Dark Ages where the friars are sitting around the dinner table disputing how many teeth are in a horse’s mouth.
The elder monks are citing Aristotle for their answer, but there’s an argument over the exact number that the old Greek had written.
A young monk, impatient with the discussion, suggests that since the monastery has an old nag tethered just outside, perhaps somebody could go out and count how many teeth she has?
This causes all sorts of fury and consternation. Question Aristotle? Question authority? How dare the kid!
I repeat the story because cinnamon has appeared yet again as a possible aid in controlling blood sugar levels. A new study from Iranian researchers says that the spice may help control certain type 2 indicators or even prevent the disease.
(I think the Iranians’ sample size was too small, and their references to improved blood glucose and triglyceride levels, BMI, and body fat are vague. Still, theirs is yet another in a succession of studies that have looked at cinnamon as a treatment for type 2, prediabetes, and metabolic syndrome.)
I remember back in the early 2000s when cinnamon emerged as a hot topic because some research indicated it could be a very effective element in type 2 therapy. That sounded great until later studies came out with contradictory data that showed cinnamon had only a minimal effect on blood sugar levels.
So, like those monks, we’ve got Aristotle telling us different things. What to do?
We should do what the young monk suggested: Get some direct experience. Consume cinnamon and record whether it has any effect on our blood sugar levels. (The Iranian study had participants consume 3 grams of cinnamon daily.) For some, it may have a noticeable effect. For others, none.
If it works, keep with it. If it doesn’t, at least we’ve experimented with it and can cross it off our list of things to try. In either case, the best any of us will be able to say is, “This is how cinnamon affects me. Otherwise I can’t make a general statement about whether it works/doesn’t work.”