Red Pepper Curbs Appetite and Burns Calories

By AltMed1-Peggy  


Yesterday, we told you about a study that found a weight loss benefit in black pepper, the same black pepper that many of us buy at the grocery store or use in restaurants to add flavor to foods. Today’s report is not a news item but instead is a reminder that red pepper has weight loss benefits too, specifically ground cayenne pepper.


Cayenne is a popular ingredient in many spicy recipes and, like black pepper, it’s available for purchase at grocery stores in the spice section. If you’re going to try adding more black pepper to your meals, consider adding cayenne too.


Last April, Purdue University researchers reported this simple red pepper can help curb appetite and burn calories. Its key is capsaicin, the component in some chili peppers that makes them taste and feel “hot.”


Before the Purdue study, there had been other research that showed capsaicin in red chili peppers aids weight loss, but their findings were based on consuming more red peppers than most Americans would be comfortable with adding to their daily diets. But the Purdue study was based on an intake of only one gram – just half a teaspoon – which most would find very do-able, even those who don’t like spicy foods. 


The study of 25 people who were not overweight included 12 who did not like spicy foods and 13 who did. Those who normally didn’t eat red pepper were less hungry for fatty, salty and sweet foods, and less hungry overall. And both groups – those who liked it and would normally eat more than 1 gram, and those who didn’t like it and would normally eat less than half a gram – burned more calories because red pepper raised their core body temperatures.


It’s the taste and heat of red pepper that triggers appetite suppression and “thermogenic” (core body heat producing) response. As lead researcher Richard Mattes, MPH, PhD, RD, distinguished professor of foods and nutrition, said in Purdue’s news release about the research, “That burn in your mouth is responsible for that effect.”


Want to read the full text of the study? See: The effects of hedonically acceptable red pepper doses on thermogenesis and appetite



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