When it comes to weight loss and burning belly fat, many long for the quick fix. We’re all aware that exercise and a healthy diet are our best bets, but are there any silver bullets? Experts and studies pinpoint the power of cinnamon and believe the powerful spice could help burn away visceral fat – the most harmful type of body fat. How?
In a study published in Science Daily, cinnamon helping to turn up the heat on fat cells and therefore burn visceral fat was investigated.
The study noted: “New research from the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute has determined how a common holiday spice cinnamon might be enlisted in the fight against obesity.
“Scientists had previously observed that cinnamaldehyde, an essential oil that gives cinnamon its flavour, appeared to protect mice against obesity and hyperglycaemia.”
Their findings indicated that cinnamaldehyde improves metabolic health by acting directly on fat cells, or adipocytes, inducing them to start burning energy through a process called thermogenesis.
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Lead author Jun Wu, research assistant professor at the Life Sciences Institute said: “Cinnamon has been part of our diets for thousands of years, and people generally enjoy it.
“So, if it can help protect against obesity, too, it may offer an approach to metabolic health that is easier for patients to adhere to.”
Wu believes his results are promising in terms of addressing the rising obesity epidemic.
What is visceral fat?
There are two main types of fat: subcutaneous fat and visceral fat.
According to Dr Barrington Chell, the fat we see on our arms when we pinch our skin is called subcutaneous fat.
This fat is an insulator, protecting against knocks and bumps. It isn’t metabolically active.
Subcutaneous fat accounts for 18 percent of body weight in men and 24 percent in women.
Visceral fat is the second main type, and it’s also known as belly fat.
Dr Barrington Chell said: “This is not fat that we can ‘pinch’ as it lies between our belly button at the front, and the spine at the back.
“It pushes our belt size out from within. It accounts for about 10 percent of our total fat.”
How do I know if I have visceral fat?
We can’t feel for visceral fat ourselves, so it can be tricky to know if you have it.
Dr Barrington Chell said: “If you are generally obese, there is an 80 percent chance you have, or will get, visceral fat.
“If you are apple shaped, then you should be checked.
“And if your belt size is increasing, you need to be investigated.”
Visceral fat is a problem on a pandemic scale, he said.
The UK is following closely behind the USA, where 80 percent of the adult population have visceral fat and metabolic problems.