Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chilli keeps hunger pangs at bay

The latest diet aid comes in the form of capsaicin, which gives peppers their heat and can reduce hunger pangs while increasing energy levels, according to researchers from Indiana.

So does the answer to weight loss lie in our spice cupboard? The study, conducted at Purdue University, suggests a sprinkling of chilli pepper on your supper could help you burn calories faster and curb cravings for fatty, salty and sweet foods.

‘We found that consuming red pepper can help manage appetite and burn more calories after a meal, especially for individuals who do not consume the spice regularly,’ says Professor Richard Mattes.

‘Dietary changes that don’t require great effort to implement, like sprinkling red pepper on your meal, may be sustainable and beneficial in the long run, especially when paired with exercise and healthy eating,’ he says.

Other studies have looked at consuming capsaicin in capsule form, but the latest study suggests that the process of tasting the red pepper actually optimises its effects. Prof Mattes claims the sensory experience maximises the digestive process and increases metabolism.

The six-week study of 25 non-overweight people, published in Physiology and Behaviour, found that the consumption of the red pepper increased core body temperature, therefore burning more calories through natural energy expenditure.

‘The appetite responses were different between those who liked red pepper and those who did not, suggesting that when the stimulus is unfamiliar it has a greater effect,’ say the researchers. ‘Once it becomes familiar to people, it loses its efficacy.'


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