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Capsaicin and Weight Loss: How Hot Peppers Burn Fat

Elizabeth Renter
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December 22nd, 2012
Updated 12/22/2012 at 2:36 am
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weightlossfoods 260x162 Capsaicin and Weight Loss: How Hot Peppers Burn FatThe link between hot peppers, or their active component capsaicin, and weight loss is not new. It’s been well recognized for some time that eating peppers or adding capsaicin to your diet could help you lose weight by boosting thermogenesis, or the rate at which your body burns fat. However, researchers in Korea have gone even deeper in understanding the hot pepper- fat connection, finding that the relationship is far more complex, and even more promising.

According to GreenMedInfo, the study used rats, dividing them into three groups—one receiving a normal diet, another with a high-fat diet supplemented by capsaicin, and the third with a high-fat diet without capsaicin. After two months, the rats were evaluated.

All three groups of rats had gained weight. However, the rats who received capsaicin in addition to a high-fat diet, gained 8 percent less than the rats that didn’t receive the capsaicin. As a matter of fact, those receiving capsaicin hardly gained any more than the rats who were on a completely normal diet.

The scientists found that the capsaicin actually worked to lessen the effects of dietary fat, up-regulating some genes and down-regulating others to buffer the fats. They said, “capsaicin can have a significant inhibitory effect against fat accumulation.”

Other research published in the journal Digestive Diseases and Sciences, the authors revealed that capsaicin could be a natural method of combating obesity that is nearly as effective as intensive surgeries — and with far less complications and risks.

Capsaicin naturally occurs in peppers—the hotter a pepper is, the more capsaicin it contains. It is no wonder pepper rest among the many foods to boost metabolism and weight loss. If you like spicy foods, getting more of this fat fighter should be simple.

But fat-fighting isn’t the only useful effect of capsaicin. As a matter of fact, it’s been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and support heart health. Also, meals containing capsaicin can have a positive effect on blood sugar, helping diabetics take less insulin following a meal. Its anti-inflammatory properties can relieve arthritis joint pain, and even slow the spread of certain types of cancer.

And if you’ve ever had a dish that was on the extremely hot side, you know that chili peppers can help flush mucus from your nose and lungs. They clear congestion and help keep the mucous membranes from getting infected.

You can make hot peppers a part of you life easily. Add them (as much as you can) to chili, meats, soups, and sprinkle on roasted vegetables. Even sweeter peppers have some capsaicin (though not nearly as much). So, even if you don’t like hot foods, boost your consumption where you can with other, more mild varieties.

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  • Jeff

    Yet on the flip side of that, the locals eat those hot curries all the time and are not suffering from these after affects. I’ve known people so accustomed to eating extremely hot food that they can’t eat any food without it being excessively hot. Because there are so many chemicals in the standard American foods this brings up the subject of Food Combination. If someone was telling me this the first question I’d ask is what was your diet prior to moving abroad? I recently read that inflammation was on the rise as a result of the nature of corporate food. Things like inflammatory bowel disease etc. If that was the case then these hot curries could have exasperated a problem that hadn’t risen up just yet. I’m no expert but something doesn’t quite add up.

  • Larry

    This can be dangerous. I ate so much capsicum containing food when I moved abroad (hot curries) that the inflammation they cause to the intestinal tract gave me chronic hemrriods and started to bleed regularly, then my skin dried out and started to crack, eventually the hair on my scalp started to come out in clumps (psariosis for first time in my life). After much research cut nightshades out of my diet for 6 months and it cleared up. Don’t belive the hype eat only in moderation.