Cinnamon has a long history of culinary use in many traditional dishes, from English apple pies to Indian curries. Obtained from the cinnamon bark, it is grown and added to the food for its comforting aroma and flavor.
However, new research has indicated that cinnamon could have sweetening effects and not just be a flavoring agent. A study in Scandinavia has shown that adding cinnamon to the diet caused a decrease in blood insulin levels and an increase in the levels of a compound that delays stomach emptying. High insulin levels are associated with a decrease in insulin sensitivity and this could eventually lead to symptoms such as fatigue, high blood sugar, weight gain and high levels of body fat, which in turn would increase the risk of heart disease. .
The study participants took either 1 gram, or 3 grams or no cinnamon, with a rice pudding and it was observed that those who took the most cinnamon had a improvement in insulin response 1-2 hours after the meal.
Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March, 2009; 89 (3): 815-821.