In our inbox today we have a "doctor's" testimony that eating apple pie can lower blood sugar levels if that pie just contains one simple, secret ingredient, which is revealed to be cinnamon. While Robert is a red blooded American who loved his late mom and apple pie and Australian Bev likes apples, too, the idea that adding everyday cinnamon to apple makes it lower your blood sugar levels is a bald faced lie.
There are numerous fallacies in the article we received, but the major one is that the cinnamon used to make apple pies is the same cinnamon tested by researchers Drs. Karalee Jarvill-Taylor, Donald Graves, and Richard Anderson at the University of Iowa at Ames several years ago and continued by Dr. Anderson and his colleagues at the US Department of Agriculture several years ago.
The cinnamon used to make apple pie is a red, zesty, aromatic spice taken from the plant Cinnamomum verum. The cinnamon you get in over the counter capsules to lower your blood sugar is a gray, dull, not particularly aromatic spice taken from the plant Cinnamomum cassia. And Dr. Anderson did his experiments on yet another form of cinnamon Cinnamomum burmannii. There actually are apple pies made with this third kind of cinnamon, but it's the "cheap stuff," not the "good stuff."
Anderson and his colleagues found that when this third kind of cinnamon is heated in the presence of water to about the boiling point of water, it forms a chain of molecules to make a polymer called methylhydroxychalcone. This polymer in turn does some of the same things that insulin does at fat cells. To a limited extent, it can "park" sugar from your bloodstream in your fat cells. Of course, this makes fat cells fatter. And it isn't just any kind of fat cell that this particular kind of cinnamon works on. Methylhydroxychalcone is active on 3T3-L1 fat cells, the kind that concentrate in belly fat. And if you really want to feed your belly fat, all we can say is Nuts!
But the effect isn't so great that is makes apple pie a medicine, the more you eat, the lower your blood sugars will go!
Don't believe us. Put cinnamon in and on your apple pie. There's no point in adding so much cinnamon your pie doesn't taste good, especially since German scientists have discovered that using 10 to 100 times more cinnamon than you need can result in cinnamon poisoning.
Take your blood sugar levels. Eat the pie. Take your blood sugar levels again 60 minutes later. Do write in if they are lower. We have never heard of such a thing. And if you aren't taking your blood sugar levels, how would you really know? Do you really want to trust your health to some author who doesn't want you to test to find out if he's telling you the truth?
If we seem a little hot and bothered about this article, well, we are. It is hard enough to explain the real virtues of herbal medicine, and we have 17 articles on cinnamon on this site, without people busily making things up just to sell you products. But don't take our word for it. Be your own expert. The one way to know for sure if something really helps you manage or even reverse your diabetes is to test, test, and test again!