Cinnamon has several health benefits. When added to oatmeal or baked into a scone or sprinkled into coffee or tea, it’s a great source of manganese, fiber, iron and calcium. It’s believed to help with anti-clotting abilities, help stabilize sugar levels for those with Type 2 diabetes, lower bad cholesterol, and fight infections.


None of these reasons, though, are why kids and young adults are encouraging their friends to eat a teaspoon of cinnamon without water. The cinnamon challenge, in which has one person challenges another to eat a teaspoon of cinnamon without water in under a minute, is sweeping the Internet. Often, the one posing the challenge will make a bet, and some unsuspecting friend or frenemy can’t resist what they think will be an easy five bucks. Other people, however, know exactly what will happen and do it anyway.


This video shows what usually happens when someone tries to eat the cinnamon. Videos like these are plastered all over YouTube and a website called A search for “cinnamon challenge” on YouTube resulted in 5,340 videos. (Warning: Someone drops the F-bomb at the end of the video.)



You may be wondering if there are any dangers associated with the cinnamon challenge. Well, there’s the danger of making an absolute fool of yourself, allowing your friends to video it and put it on online, and then having a future possible employer find the video and think, “This one’s not so bright. I don’t think I want to hire her.”


What about health dangers? According to Healthcare Professional Homepage, there may be some.


  • If the cinnamon gets inhaled instead of swallowed or spit out, it could cause severe chest pain.
  • Choking could occur if the dry powder gets caught in the throat.

I couldn’t find any information about anyone suffering long-term health problems from the cinnamon challenge, and there don’t seem to be any reports of any deaths. Still, it seems like a bad, possibly dangerous idea. If your kids start talking about taking the cinnamon challenge, you should probably discourage it. 

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

What to know about the cinnamon challenge and kids
A new dare involving cinnamon is gaining popularity with kids and young adults, but it’s not as harmless as it seems.