Cinnamaldehyde is an essential oil that helps give the spice its distinctive flavour and has been proven to protect mice against obesity.
Now, researchers at the University of Michigan have claimed the oil also activates thermogenesis - a metabolic bodily process which burns calories to produce heat.
This process can help kick-start weight loss, leading the study’s authors to conclude cinnamon could boast a series of metabolic benefits.
Lead author Jun Wu, research assistant professor at the Life Sciences Institute, was aware of the benefits of cinnamaldehyde thanks to previous studies and wanted to further examine its effect on the body.
“Scientists were finding that this compound affected metabolism,” he said. “So we wanted to figure out how.”
Wu and his team tested fat cells from volunteers and noticed an increased expression of the genes and enzymes that enhance lipid metabolism after they’d been treated with cinnamaldehyde.
This led him to believe that cinnamaldehyde could help provoke thermogenesis and fat-burning processes in the body.