Cinnamon is a beloved spice used around the world to add flavor and fragrance to dishes both savory and sweet. But if you're following a ketogenic diet, you may be wondering if cinnamon powder is keto-friendly.
The short answer is yes, cinnamon can be included as part of a keto diet when consumed in moderation. Cinnamon powder contains just 1.9 grams of net carbs per teaspoon, making it easy to incorporate into your daily macros.
Plus, cinnamon has some impressive health benefits that can support your keto lifestyle. Keep reading to learn more about the carb count, nutritional value, and health effects of cinnamon powder to decide if it should have a place in your low-carb pantry.
Carbohydrates in Cinnamon Powder
When following a keto diet, it's important to limit your net carb intake to 20-50 grams per day in order to achieve and maintain ketosis. This is where your body burns fat for fuel instead of glucose.
Cinnamon powder has a relatively low amount of net carbohydrates compared to other spices.
Here is the carb breakdown for cinnamon powder per serving:
- 1 teaspoon (2.6 grams) cinnamon powder contains:
- 2.31 grams total carbs
- 0.41 grams fiber
- 1.9 grams net carbs
So you can see that cinnamon contains under 2 grams of net carbs per teaspoon. This makes it easy to incorporate into your daily keto goals without going over your limits, especially since you likely won't use more than 1-2 teaspoons in a recipe.
Some people may be sensitive to even small amounts of carbs from seasonings, in which case you may want to limit cinnamon or account for it in your daily tally. But for most keto eaters, cinnamon powder can be enjoyed freely.
Calories and Nutrition Facts of Cinnamon
In addition to being low in carbs, cinnamon powder is also low in calories and fat.
Here is the nutrition information for 1 teaspoon (2.6g) of cinnamon powder:
- 6 calories
- 0g fat
- 2g total carbohydrates
- 1g fiber
- 1.9g net carbs
- 0g protein
As you can see, cinnamon powder is an excellent low-calorie, low-fat option to flavor foods without adding substantial calories.
Cinnamon also provides small amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants:
- 0.4mg manganese (18% DV) - important for metabolism and bone health
- 12mg calcium (1% DV) - key for bone strength
- 0.01mg vitamin K (1% DV) - supports blood clotting
- Contains antioxidants including polyphenols to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation
So by adding just a sprinkle of cinnamon, you can get a slight boost of nutrients without worrying about carb counts.
The Many Health Benefits of Cinnamon Powder
Beyond being low in carbs and calories, the cinnamon powder provides some impressive health benefits - which makes it even better as a keto-friendly choice. Here are just a few of the many evidence-based ways cinnamon can boost your health:
- Helps control blood sugar: The antioxidants in cinnamon, particularly the polyphenol compounds, can mimic the effects of insulin. This helps transport glucose into cells to keep blood sugar levels stable. Multiple studies have shown cinnamon can reduce fasting blood glucose levels.
- Reduces risk factors for heart disease: Studies indicate cinnamon may lower LDL ("bad") and total cholesterol levels while raising HDL ("good") cholesterol. Cinnamon also appears to reduce high blood pressure. Together, these benefits promote a healthy heart.
- Has anti-inflammatory effects: The antioxidants in cinnamon exhibit potent anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve pain and discomfort related to inflammation. This can benefit conditions like arthritis or injuries.
- Fights bacterial and fungal Infections: Cinnamon oil and extract have been shown in test tube studies to combat the growth of certain bacteria and fungi. More research is needed to confirm these effects in humans.
- Protects against neurodegenerative disorders: Animal studies indicate cinnamon may reduce risk factors and biomarkers associated with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. More human studies are needed.
- May support cancer defenses: Early test tube and animal research indicate cinnamon extracts can reduce the growth and spread of certain types of cancer cells. But more evidence is still needed.
As you can see, adding just a dash of cinnamon powder to your foods and beverages can provide antioxidants and compounds that offer an array of protective health benefits.
Using Cinnamon Powder in Keto Recipes
Luckily, cinnamon is a versatile spice that can be used to add flavor to both sweet and savory recipes. Here are some easy ways to work cinnamon powder into your keto diet:
- Add to coffee, smoothies, or shakes
- Mix into nut kinds of butter or chia seed pudding
- Top full-fat Greek yogurt or cottage cheese
- Sprinkle on nuts, seeds, or nut butter fat bombs
- Dust on pork chops, chicken, or fish before cooking
- Swirl into omelets, frittatas, or scrambled eggs
- Mix with almond or coconut flour to make low-carb baked goods
- Blend into "pancake" or "waffle" batter made with eggs and almond flour
- Fold into low-carb mug cakes and muffins
- Mix with erythritol and butter to make a cinnamon spread
- Add to plain unsweetened nut milk or coconut milk
Cinnamon pairs especially well with other keto-approved foods like non-starchy veggies, cheese, avocado, coffee, dark chocolate, and nuts. Let your creativity run wild by coming up with new ways to use this aromatic spice!
Keto-Friendly Cinnamon Dessert Recipe
Try making these delicious Cinnamon Bun Mug Cakes for the perfect keto dessert featuring warming cinnamon spice.
- 2 tablespoons almond flour
- 1 tablespoon erythritol (or other preferred keto-friendly sweetener)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
- Mix together almond flour, erythritol, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together egg, heavy cream, and vanilla.
- Place butter in a microwave-safe coffee mug or ramekin and microwave for 20-30 seconds until melted.
- Pour the wet egg mixture into the mug and stir briefly to coat the bottom with butter.
- Add dry ingredients and mix well until a thick batter forms.
- Microwave for 60-90 seconds until the cake is cooked through.
- Let cool for 1-2 minutes before carefully removing it from the mug.
- Top with more cinnamon if desired. Enjoy!
Potential Side Effects of Cinnamon
Cinnamon powder is safe for most people when used in regular culinary amounts. However, taking high doses of cinnamon supplements or eating excessive amounts may cause side effects in some individuals including:
- Liver damage
- Low blood sugar
- Mouth sores
- Breathing difficulties
- Allergic reactions
Additionally, cassia cinnamon contains a compound called coumarin that can potentially cause liver toxicity, cancer, or other damage if consumed regularly in high amounts.
To avoid risks, it's best to stick to Ceylon cinnamon rather than cassia varieties. Limit intake to under 1-2 teaspoons per day if consumed daily. Pregnant women should exercise particular caution and talk to their doctor before regularly eating cinnamon.
The Bottom Line: Is Cinnamon Powder Keto?
Cinnamon powder can absolutely be included as part of a ketogenic diet. With only trace amounts of net carbs and calories per serving, cinnamon provides a tasty way to add flavor without knocking you out of ketosis.
Plus, it offers health benefits like stabilizing blood sugar, reducing inflammation, and protecting your heart, brain, and more. Just be mindful of portion sizes and the type of cinnamon powder you choose.
Add a dash of cinnamon to your beverages, baked goods, snacks, and other keto foods to take advantage of this antioxidant-packed spice. Cinnamon powder is an easy, versatile way to kick up flavor and nutrition in your low-carb recipes.
Is cassia cinnamon keto-friendly?
Cassia cinnamon does contain more carbs than Ceylon varieties with about 5g net carbs per tablespoon. However, you likely won't use nearly this much. In moderation, cassia can be included but Ceylon has a much lower risk of side effects.
What is the best cinnamon to buy for keto?
Ceylon cinnamon is considered the "true" cinnamon and has lower coumarin levels. Saigon is a variety of cassia cinnamon with a stronger flavor. They both work for keto diets but Ceylon is the safer option if you plan to use cinnamon frequently.
Can I replace sugar with cinnamon in keto baking?
You can add cinnamon to replace some sugar flavor, but it won't act as a true 1:1 sugar substitute in recipes. Cinnamon has no sweetness or bulk. Try combining cinnamon with keto-friendly sugar alternatives like monk fruit or erythritol instead.
How much cinnamon can you have per day on keto?
1-2 teaspoons (2-4 grams) of cinnamon powder is a safe daily amount for most people. Consuming too much may increase the risk of liver damage and other side effects, so use caution with supplements or large portions.
What foods pair well with cinnamon on keto?
Some tasty keto foods that pair great with cinnamon include coffee, nut butter, dark chocolate, coconut, nuts, chia pudding, yogurt, eggs, pumpkin, and squash. Cinnamon also livens up plain meats like chicken breasts.
Can I use cinnamon if I'm allergic?
If you have a cinnamon allergy, avoid consuming it. Reactions can include mouth sores, swelling, breathing problems, and anaphylaxis. Check labels for hidden cinnamon powder in spice blends. Cassia cinnamon tends to cause more allergies than Ceylon.
Cinnamon powder can be an aromatic and flavorful addition to your keto diet when used moderately. It provides antioxidants and health benefits as well as a negligible amount of net carbs per serving.
Stick with less than 2 teaspoons per day and opt for Ceylon rather than cassia cinnamon to be safe. Incorporate this warming spice into drinks, baked goods, entrees, snacks, and more for a touch of added nutrition and dynamite taste.
Enjoy discovering creative new ways to use keto-friendly cinnamon powder in your low-carb lifestyle.