You might instantly think of burning lips and a tingling tongue when you think of chilli, but this little ingredient can pack quite a punch, and may help you in your weight loss quest.

Chilli peppers contain a number of compounds. Capsaicin is the active compound found in the capsicum family that gives the chilli its heat. The real heat comes from the white pith that you can see between the coloured wall and the seeds of your chilli.

Early studies have found that chilli may help you to lose weight by boosting metabolism and increasing fat oxidation.

Capsaicin and energy expenditure

A team of researchers at the UCLA Centre for Human Nutrition[1] found that subjects who were given a supplement of a substance which was from a close relative to the red pepper, showed increased energy expenditure after consumption. This lasted for several hours and increased fat oxidation.

Another study by researchers at the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine[2] looked at the effect of capsinoid (another compound found in chilli peppers) consumption over 12 weeks. They found that abdominal adiposity (fat) decreased more in the group that took the capsinoids. This group also had a higher rate of fat oxidation.

Cayenne and blood sugar levels

There is also some research published in the American journal of clinical nutrition[3] that also suggests some of the compounds (cayenne) found in chilli peppers may also help regulate blood sugar levels. This is beneficial as fluctuating levels of blood sugar can be dangerous to the body and may play a role in weight management.

Chilli peppers and hunger

Chilli peppers has also been found in two studies[4] to suppress appetite which means that you may consume less food overall. This effect can last several hours. You are also probably aware that you tend to slow down when eating spicier foods. By doing this you are more likely to eat less before realising that you are full.

Next time, don’t forget to spend 30 seconds spicing up your meal

Consuming more chilli is easy; finely chop fresh red chilli including the seeds into your favourite dish or if you don’t like chillies and spicy foods take a supplement which includes Capsaicin extract such as Garcinia Complex.

Consuming more chilli peppers will not make you burn off all of that extra body fat by themselves, but in conjunction with a balanced diet and daily activity they may help you get to your goal quicker.

PS: If you do happen to over consume fresh chilli and can’t take the heat yogurt is quite good for relieving the heat.