Visitor Question: Can chili powder assists with weight loss?

Question and AnswerQuestion and Answer

Chili powder may help you lose weight.  

chili powder
chili powder

A visitor to the site asked for chili powder can help with weight loss.  The answer, without a doubt, is: YES.

Chili powder is a traditional smoky and spicy flavored spice that is used in Latin American and Tex-Mex cooking.  The ingredients of chili powder are different from brand to brand, but each is very similar.  Many contain either ancho pepper or cayenne pepper ground up into a powder, but all contain some pepper powder.  Classically, chili powder is a blend of spices to include ancho chile powder, paprika, cumin, and Mexican oregano. Still, many also include spices like coriander, cayenne, and garlic powder to round out individual blends​[1]​.  Chili powder is the ingredient that gives chili the spicy flavor we love, and without it, the dish would be very bland.  

How does chili powder help with weight loss?  Like peppers, pepper powder contains capsaicin which has been shown to boost metabolism​[2]​,​[3]​  and increase satiety​[2]​,​[4]​.  Research shows that capsaicin increases weight loss and assists with a 5-10% increase in successful weight maintenance​[1]​,​[2]​.  Most important, capsaicin appears to liberate fatty acids from fat cells and increases fatty acid oxidation (burning of fat for energy)​[3]​,​[4]​,​[5]​.

The bottom line: Chili powder contains capsaicin, which can help with fat and weight loss and increase satiety.  Chili powder inherits the positive effects of each ingredient since compound spice of multiple ingredients.  If you like the flavor, I highly recommend adding it to your food as long as you control the calorie content and portion size.   


  1. [1]
    M. Lejeune, E. Kovacs, and M. Westerterp-Plantenga, “Effect of capsaicin on substrate oxidation and weight maintenance after modest body-weight loss in human subjects.,” Br J Nutr, vol. 90, no. 3, pp. 651–59, Sep. 2003.
  2. [2]
    S. Whiting, E. Derbyshire, and B. Tiwari, “Could capsaicinoids help to support weight management? A systematic review and meta-analysis of energy intake data.,” Appetite, vol. 73, pp. 183–8, Feb. 2014.
  3. [3]
    P. Janssens, R. Hursel, E. Martens, and M. Westerterp-Plantenga, “Acute Effects of Capsaicin on Energy Expenditure and Fat Oxidation in Negative Energy Balance,” PLoS One, vol. 8, no. 7, p. e67786, Jul. 2013.
  4. [4]
    J. Chen et al., “Activation of TRPV1 channel by dietary capsaicin improves visceral fat remodeling through connexin43-mediated Ca2+ Influx,” Cardiovasc Diabetol, vol. 14, p. 22, Feb. 2015.
  5. [5]
    H. Impheng, S. Pongcharoen, L. Richert, D. Pekthong, and P. Srisawang, “The Selective Target of Capsaicin on FASN Expression and De Novo Fatty Acid Synthesis Mediated through ROS Generation Triggers Apoptosis in HepG2 Cells,” PLoS One, vol. 9, no. 9, p. e107842, Sep. 2014.
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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