Weight Loss Tip: Eat Spicy Hot Peppers

Weight Loss Tip 47 - Eat Hot PeppersWeight Loss Tip 47 - Eat Hot Peppers

Hot peppers can assist with weight loss

It has long been postulated that spicy foods can help to speed up your metabolism.  Capsaicin, which is the active ingredient in hot peppers, makes you sweat like you just exercised, but does it affect your metabolism?  Do chilies raise your body temperature and require your body to “turn the air conditioner” on to keep you cool?  The information on how, if,  and how long has been varied and remains unclear.

I know we are here to discuss the metabolism effect of capsaicin, but what other effects does it have?  Capsaicin is the source from which hot peppers get their heat. It is found in jalapenos, habaneros, cayenne, serranos, and most other chili peppers as a colorless compound.  Along with its thermogenic effect, capsaicin is shown to work as an anti-inflammatory and blood thinner by helping to prevent blood clots.  So, not only might they increase weight loss, but they also might help decrease clots and your knee pain.  The anti-inflammatory and blood thinning effect could be a double whammy to help prevent heart disease.

What Is Metabolism?

Metabolism is the complex of physical and chemical processes occurring within our bodies that are necessary for the maintenance of life.  In metabolism, some substances are broken down to yield energy, such as alcohol, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, for vital processes, such as cooling your body and are necessary for life.  Simply put, metabolism is the amount of energy or calories needed by our bodies to maintain themselves.  Each of our metabolisms is affected by our body composition.  People with more muscles will have a higher metabolism, while those that are less muscle have a lower metabolism.

If you have a higher metabolism, you will be able to eat more calories daily without gaining weight than someone with a lower metabolism.  Though there are several ways that are said to increase metabolism, the most well-documented means to increase your metabolism is by adding muscle mass through resistance or strength training exercises.  

Can hot peppers also increase your metabolism?  Thermogenesis is the process in our metabolism in which our bodies produce heat.  Many supplements work by producing this effect.  This word is the term which I will use to discuss if capsaicin increases the metabolism or heat within the body and requires us to expend energy to lower this temperature.  Research has proven that peppers increase metabolism [1],[2].  There is more evidence in this article on hot peppers

The bottom line: Hot peppers reduce food intake and appear to increase metabolism.  

[1]Chaiyasit, Khovidhunkit, and Wittayalertpanya, “Pharmacokinetic and the Effect of Capsaicin in Capsicum Frutescens on Decreasing Plasma Glucose Level.”
[2]Hursel and Westerterp-Plantenga, “Thermogenic Ingredients and Body Weight Regulation.”
Chaiyasit, K, W Khovidhunkit, and S Wittayalertpanya. “Pharmacokinetic and the Effect of Capsaicin in Capsicum Frutescens on Decreasing Plasma Glucose Level.” Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand = Chotmaihet Thangphaet 92, no. 1 (January 1, 2009): 108–13. [PubMed]
Hursel, R, and M S Westerterp-Plantenga. “Thermogenic Ingredients and Body Weight Regulation.” International Journal of Obesity. Springer Nature, February 9, 2010. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2009.299
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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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