The claim that eating hot peppers will make you burn more fat may be more than a myth. Several studies have found evidence that eating spicy foods can increase your body's metabolism and calorie usage. However, eating to much chilli and spicy foods can lead to stomach problems and digestive upset.
Metabolism or your metabolic rate describes the amount of calories your body burns every day. Metabolic rate depends on your activity, heat generation, age, sex, weight, height and on your genetics. Your metabolism can differ on a daily basis, depending on factors such as your activity level and amount of heat generated. For example, if you have a fever, your metabolic rate will be higher than normal. The higher your metabolism, the more calories your body burns, thereby helping you to lose weight.
Capsaicins are the natural compounds that make peppers and chilies hot. They stimulate sensory nerve receptors close to your skin, leading to heat sensation, sweating and redness. Capsaicins can also alter your muscle cell activity by making your muscles turn energy into heat. This effect is called thermogenesis and is utilized by animals to keep their body temperature normal during hibernation. Thermogenisis burns more fat and calories, raising your body temperature and helping you lose weight.
Eating red chili peppers can make your body burn more calories. A meal that contains capsaicins, like a bowl of chili, can raise your metabolic rate by eight percent. In addition, according to a study published in “Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry” in 2007, people who ate capsinoids, a capsaicin analogues, had increased fat oxidation rate. As a result, capsinoid and capsaicin intake could enhance energy consumption and fat burning and help in weight loss.
Although eating hot foods may have a positive effect on your metabolic rate, it does not come without consequences. Spicy foods can worsen symptoms of stomach ulcers and heartburn. In addition, the burning sensation in your mouth that spicy foods cause can be uncomfortable and even painful.
- "Anatomy and Physiology”; Gary Thibodeau et al; 2007
- “Science Daily”; Hot Peppers Really Do Bring The Heat; Aug 2008rel="nofollow"
- “Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry”; Enhanced Energy Expenditure and Fat Oxidation..; N Inoue, et al.; 2007rel="nofollow"
- New York Times: Spicy Foods Increase Metabolismrel="nofollow"
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.