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Popular 90p item found in your kitchen cupboard that could help blast fat

Weight loss is a common goal for many people for a number of reasons including improving their health. However, achieving that goal can be a lot easier said than done.

It is widely agreed that two of the key drivers for successful weight loss are changing up your diet and exercising more. In terms of diet, this can involve cutting back your calorie intake and loading up your plate with more fruit and vegetables.

But experts have revealed that adding a certain popular spice to your routine could also help shed the pounds.

Research has shown that cinnamon, commonly used in festive treats such as mulled wine and Christmas cake, could boost your metabolism, helping you to burn more calories.

A common spice we all have in our kitchens could help with weight loss, according to recent research, and costs as little as 90p from supermarkets.

It has previously been linked to reducing the risk of diabetes, lowering cholesterol, relieving symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and staving off heart disease and cancer.

Experiments have shown the main ingredient in cinnamon, known as cinnamaldehyde, burns fat in humans.

In a study, published in Metabolism journal, scientists demonstrated the mechanism behind its health benefits for the first time – opening the door to a “cinnamon pill” to treat a range of conditions.

Professor Jun Wu, of the Life Sciences Institute at Michigan University in the US, explained: “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.”

Prof Wu said cinnamon could be enlisted in the fight against obesity.

Previous studies have observed the essential oil appeared to stop mice becoming obese and developing high blood sugar, which can trigger diabetes.

She continued: “Scientists were finding this compound affected metabolism. So we wanted to figure out how – what pathway might be involved, what it looked like in mice and what it looked like in human cells.”

It was found that cinnamaldehyde improves metabolic health by acting directly on fat cells called adipocytes.

This is by causing them to start burning fat through a process called thermogenesis which uses up energy to destroy calories.

Her team tested the adipocytes of volunteers with a range of ages, ethnicities and BMIs (body mass indices).

When the cells were treated with cinnamaldehyde they noticed increased expression of several genes and enzymes that boost metabolism of blood fats, or lipids. They also observed an increase in proteins known as Ucp1 and Fgf21 – which help regulate thermogenesis.

Adipocytes normally store energy in the form of lipids. This benefited our distant ancestors who had a much greater need for long-term storage as they had much less access to high-fat foods.

That could then be used by the body in times of scarcity or in cold temperatures – which induce adipocytes to convert stored energy into heat.

“It’s only been relatively recently that energy surplus has become a problem,” Prof Wu said.

“Throughout evolution the opposite – energy deficiency – has been the problem. So any energy-consuming process usually turns off the moment the body doesn’t need it.”

With the rising obesity epidemic researchers like Prof Wu have been looking for ways to prompt fat cells to activate thermogenesis – turning those fat-burning processes back on. She believes cinnamaldehyde may offer one such activation method.

However, she added that further studies are needed to determine how best to harness cinnamaldehyde’s metabolic benefits – without causing adverse side effects.

An earlier Japanese study found cinnamaldehyde stimulated the metabolism of the fatty visceral tissue in mice – suggesting the spice could combat a pot belly.

Cinnamon is made from the inner bark of the cinnamomum tree and from this cinnamon sticks and cinnamon powder are made.


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