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Can Cumin Accelerate Fat Loss?

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Whilst the best way to optimize weight loss is to achieve a calorie deficit, there are a number of foods that can make a real difference in helping you shift those pounds. Some can speed up your weight loss and others can slow it down.

According to new research, the key to successfully losing weight might have been in your spice cabinet all along. 

Can cumin really ramp up your weight loss? In this article we’ll take a look.

What is Cumin?

Cuminum cyminum is a herbaceous, flowering plant that provides the cumin seed. These seeds are small, brown in color and have a distinctive taste and aroma. It’s taste is earthy and warming and the compound cuminaldehyde provides a rich aroma.

It is used commonly in South Asian and Brazilian cuisine, and is often added to blend spices such as chili and ‘Tex-Mex’. You’ll also find it in both Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern dishes too.

This spice is loaded with nutrients such as the antioxidant vitamins A,C and E, as well as a range of B vitamins. You’ll also find magnesium and zinc – both important minerals for maintaining efficient bodily functions. The high iron content will boost oxygen in the blood and plays a key role in energy metabolism.

Some claim that this spice is one of the world’s healthiest foods. 

Cumin can promote health by reducing blood glucose – in some cases it has been shown to be more effective than some anti-diabetic medications [1]. On top of that, it has also been shown to reduce total cholesterol – a risk factor for diabetes [2].

Nigella sativaor ‘black cumin’ has been shown to relieve the inflammation and the active antioxidants thymoquinone, dithymoquinone and thymol are thought to help reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis [3].

The oil of the cyminum seed has been found to reduce blood pressure too. In one study, 70 healthy volunteers were given 2.5mL of oil over an 8-week period and found that blood pressure significantly improved. The group also had their body mass index assessed too – which didn’t change at all over the course of the study.

But many scientists claim that this spice can increase weight loss. Are there studies to back this up? Let’s have a look…


What Does The Research Say – Can Cumin Boost Weight Loss?

There are only a limited amount of human studies that have tested this spice on markers of metabolic health. The remainder of them are animal studies, which are useful, but not as reliable.

Recent research from Iran’s Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences [4] recruited a group of 88 women and split them into 2 groups. Both groups were put on a calorie-controlled diet and received nutrition counselling. They were also both asked to eat a yogurt snack twice a day for a 3-month period. One group also had 3g of cyminum added to the snack.

At the end of the study, the cumin group had lost an additional 3 pounds – a modest but significant amount for 12 weeks. This worked out at a 13 pound weight loss total overall.

Even more significant was the change in body composition. Whilst the yogurt-only group dropped 4.91% body fat, the cumin group practically tripled it – a total 14.69% loss. BMI and waist circumference also significantly reduced.

In another study, published in the Journal of Natural Remedies, [5] 5g per day of cyminum was given to a group of type 2 diabetics, and was found to improve glycemic control and cholesterol levels as well. The volunteers also lost weight too.

The combination of a high dose of cyminum and lime could also prove to be an effective weight loss pairing. A study based in Iran [6] found that a high dose of the spice taken with lime helped a group of 72 volunteers lose 2.1kg in weight compared to 0.2kg in a placebo group. 

There is definitely evidence that this spice should be included in your diet. As an aromatic and tasty addition to savory foods, it is easy to fit into a diet. The research shows that it can modestly boost weight loss in combination with a calorie deficit, so it probably won’t make a massive difference to a poor diet.



Cumin is a popular spice, commonly used in Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. It is loaded with vitamins and minerals that help to optimize metabolism and energy production.

As a delicious and aromatic spice, cuminum cyminum is easy to add to your diet. It provides an effortless addition that boosts well-being. It has been found to improve metabolic health such as blood sugar and cholesterol, as well a weight loss

In reality it’s unlikely that this spice will provide drastic changes to weight loss unless a well-balanced diet and activity lifestyle is also undertaken – but in combination with a calorie deficit this spice may well speed up your weight loss goals.

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  1. Jeqtap, AG et al. Antihyperglycemic activity and inhibition of advanced glycation end product formation by Cuminum cyminum in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. Food Chem Toxicol. 2010; 48(8-9): 2030-6
  2. Dhandapani, S et al. Hypolipidemic effect of Cuminum cyminum L. on alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Pharmacol Res. 2002; 46(3): 251-5
  3. Vaillancourt, F et al. Elucidation of molecular mechanisms underlying the protective effects of thymoquinone against rheumatoid arthritis. J Cell Biochem. 2011; 112(1): 107–117
  4. Zare, R et al. Effect of cumin powder on body composition and lipid profile in overweight and obese women. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2014
  5. Andallu, B et al. Anti-hyperglycemic, cholesterol-lowering and HDL-raising effects of cumin (Cuminum cyminum) seeds in type 2 diabetes. J Natura Remedies 2007; 7(1): 142-9
  6. Taghizadeh, M et al. The Effect of Cumin cyminum L. Plus Lime Administration on Weight Loss and Metabolic Status in Overweight Subjects: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2016.