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Spicy peppers may hold a key to weight loss, scientists say

April 27, 2010 |  7:30 pm

How would you like to burn calories from the comfort of your dining room? Of course you would. Researchers at the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition are a step ahead of you.

Pepper Some food scientists believe that jalapenos and other hot peppers not only “burn” the tongue when eaten but also increase the diner’s body temperature. They hypothesize that the energy required to do this burns calories just as surely as traditional forms of exercise.

One potential problem is that not everyone appreciates the flavor of spicy peppers. That kick comes courtesy of capsaicin, a chemical developed by plants to defend themselves against animals who’d want to eat them. Thankfully for timid eaters, some peppers produce a version of capsaicin called dihydrocapsiate (a.k.a. DCT) that has a mild taste.

So the UCLA researchers recruited 34 volunteers who were trying to lose weight. Some got pills containing DCT to take with their meals; others got dummy pills. The researchers measured each volunteer's energy expenditure after he or she ate and found it was highest in those volunteers who got the biggest doses of DCT – almost twice as high as in those who took the placebo. Not only that, the DCT prompted those who took it to burn more fat.

The findings are promising, but it’s not time to start swallowing DCT pills on your own, the researchers warn. The volunteers in their study were on a low-calorie liquid diet, and the results might not translate to people eating regular food. Also, it might work for people with fat to spare but not for those who are already lean.

At this point, the only advice the researchers offer is this: If you’re inclined to eat jalapenos and other hot peppers, feel free to pile them high.

The study results are being presented Tuesday evening at the Experimental Biology 2010 meeting in Anaheim.

-- Karen Kaplan

Photo: The capsaicin in hot peppers – and even a mild-tasting version in other peppers – might help the body burn calories, researchers say. Credit: Tim Boyle / Getty Images

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Comments (8)

One potential problem is that not everyone appreciates the flavor of spicy peppers.
It's may be wrong...

would be better if they could put the pepper in a capsule we could take but then again coming out could burn a lot.

I will definitely be continuing to enjoy spicy peppers! What a great payoff!

Indonesians have know about this for a long time. It is common for them to eat spicy chili to help them lose weight.

Hot peppers are a natural wonder, and they pack a ton of benefits. One really important thing is don't get prepared hot pepper sauces that are loaded with sodium and other crap, as that defeats the purpose, BIG TIME. Slice 'em thin and mix them with your food, which shouldn't be overloaded with any or all of the following: sodium, sugar, carbs, or fat.

This is exciting news, but I thought I'd heard about this before.

Maybe not, my friend is as skinny as a rake but he eats just like me, I'm overweight but winning the battle at last.
The only difference between his diet and proprtions and mine is he loves Chili peppers! I mean he is obsessed with them.

So I think I may have unconsciously connected his skinnyness, to the peppers.

Anyway as I said I'm finally winning the battle of the Bulge with this Guys method. Scot Brandly,!10116/tbbqolrsng

There have been an awful lot of diet pills and supplements (anyone remember fen-phen) pulled from the market only after causing great harm. Meridia looks to be the latest to have serious side effects. Just eat a healthy diet. Chili peppers good, dihydrocapsiate probably bad for you

There is an interesting post at the Health Journal Club that makes the case that people should just not eat anything that wasn’t a food 100 years ago. Sure gets rid of all the aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, GM food garbage they try and pass off as food these days.

I had great results implementing this strategy with clients by implementing the power juice of chile pepper juice.

As the article explains, Chile peppers contain the substance capsaicin which determines the fire-power of the pepper. It triggers the brain to produce endorphins, natural painkillers that promote a sense of well-being and stimulation. A healthy speed-up of your digestion can be expected as well.

Here are some strategies what what you can do with following chillies:

Habanero – add just a little with your papaya, mango, pineapple or passion fruit blend. Don’t overdo it! This one is one of the hottest peppers of all.

Jalapeno – add some to your carrot, spinach, and celery juice

Pimento – easy to get in markets. Add to a mix of cucumber, beet and carrot juice.

And what if you can’t have access to any of those? The easy solution is Tabasco. Find a Tabasco brand that is natural and made without corn syrup.

And no access to fresh juices? V- 8 does the trick. Use one little can of V-8 juice and add a small shake of Tabasco. Find some carrot juice, mix and shake and drink it up.

Another way to punch up your juice mixes: add some seaweed, such as granulated kelp, to season your blends. Seaweed contains iodine, which stimulates the thyroid gland; key in any kind of weight loss program.

Try this juicing program for 2 days and it will set you to the road of continuing focus to health and weight loss.

Stefan Aschan
Europe's Premier Longevity Coach


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