Photo of a sunburst made from a variety of coloured chillies
Hot chilli peppers contain substances that could help melt the pounds away [Image: Scott Bauer - Wikimedia Commons]

Some like it hot – chilies serve up a triple threat to fat

12 July, 2012

Natural Health News — Adding a little spice to your life could help you lose weight, according to new research.

In a paper published in the journal Appetite, researchers from Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK found that chillies could help dieters in three ways.

In their research into the effect of capsaicin – the chemical that makes chillies taste hot – on weight loss, Dr Stephen Whiting and colleagues found that spicy peppers not only increase the body’s metabolism and help burn more calories, they also tell the body to burn lipids – meaning fat stores are reduced – and reduce the appetite.

The calorie-burning capsaicin works by causing an adrenaline release similar to that created by the body’s own ‘fight or flight’ mechanism, which increases energy expenditure and reduces the appetite.

Furthermore, the chillies also affect the body’s hormone level, to further reduce appetite.

However the precise reason for the targeted burning of lipids is still not understood. Even so, says Whiting “If you eat chilli consistently for a good period of time, it will help you lose weight.”

He also found that chilli has “its greatest effect on central obesity, that is, the fat found round the stomach, which is the unhealthiest type of fat”.

While interest in the effect of chillies on weight loss started around a decade ago, researchers say this is the first time all the research has been pulled together to find the triple action of capsaicin on weight loss.