Do Hot Peppers Fire Up Fat Loss?
You’ve heard of lemonade with cayenne pepper, raspberries, coffee enemas and even tapeworms to aid in the battle against fat. But have you heard of red hot peppers to help lose weight?
If not, you’re in for a treat. The best kind of treat—one backed by spicy science. Mmmm, science.
So what is it about red hot peppers that has the potential to cause weight loss? Scientists call it capsaicin. It’s a part of peppers that gives it that burn.
They claim it triggers energy expenditure and fat burning. More specifically that hot peppers turn white fat to brown fat, or brown adipose tissue.
You might be saying, who cares what color the fat is, if it’s still there, it’s not working. Well, brown fat is kind of a misnomer. It’s more like a fat traitor. When it is activated—usually by freezing temperatures causing you to shiver— it burns up to five times more energy and it burns white fat. More calories are burned per day and eventually the body adds to that amount increasing caloric burn.
Seriously, people submerged themselves into freezing water for hours for these tests.
But guess what else they found? Chili peppers can activate brown fat, too.
Capsaicinoids in Hot Peppers Promote Weight Loss and More
During this process, brown fat is activated. For those who are overweight, studies show they have a more inflammatory body composition due to increased white fat. Reduction of white fat to reduce inflammation can promote fat loss and a host of other cardiovascular benefits.
In one study, obese mice were fed high fat diets for 10 weeks. Then, they were given .0015% capsaicin, the part of a chili pepper, as a supplement. Here were the results:
- Improved glucose tolerance
- Reduced liver fat.
- Improved insulin sensitivity.
In another study, capsaicin from chili peppers was rubbed on the ‘flesh’ of mice and the results were:
- Reduced visceral fat.
- Decreased inflammation.
- Increased insulin sensitivity.
Tired of seeing the mice benefit from chilli pepper studies? In a human study, chili peppers promoted weight loss, too.
In a Netherlands human study, when 135 mg/day capsaicin was consumed with meals, people burned 119 kcal more per day.
Additional human studies on chili peppers show many weight loss benefits, such as:
It increased fat oxidation, energy expenditure and decreased visceral fat and appetite. This result was reached after reviewing more than 90 studies with varied doses and time frames. The average number of additional calories burned per day was 50 and the consensus is that, long-term regular consumption of capsaicinoids, (part of chili peppers) will produce clinically significant levels of weight loss.
But, just like a change in diet and exercise—it takes time and commitment
Now, keep in mind, it seems human studies and a true understanding of chili pepper and its effect on human health is still developing. Many studies mentioned were small, varied in time frames, subject and dosing. We love science at MaxQ, but unfortunately, often studies are conflicting and we want to point that out so you can make an informed decision.
“Red Hot Peppers Can Also Improve Cluster Headaches and Psoriasis”
Leroux Redman, personal trainer and fat loss consultant, told MaxQ Nutrition, “For weight loss benefits, capsaicin rich foods help lower body weight, speed up metabolism and help burn fat and suppress appetite—but there are more benefits to hot peppers including diminishing the frequency of cluster headaches, treating psoriasis–whether ingested or topical, and managing diabetes through lowering blood sugar and increasing insulin sensitivity.”
Leroux said that hot peppers are not a miracle ingredient and thinks capsaicin can be a great catalyst to transformation. “It’s even more effective when combined with exercise and a nutritional approach towards fat loss as capsaicin consumption also improves athletic performance and overall physical endurance. Leroux said he incorporates a low-carb high-fat diet into his fitness plan.
Recommended Dosage of Hot Peppers for Weight Loss and Health Benefits
Leroux recommends treating hot peppers like a hot bath—start slowly and let your body get used to them. “Start out with 125-500mg a day and work up. I recommend to check the ‘burn’ in your stomach as well as at the end of the digestive system, aka colon,” Leroux joked, but followed up with serious encouragement.
Red hot peppers can cause burning at both ends, so start slow, as one end of your bod may be able to handle them a little better than the other…
“Adding ginger can cool and soothe the stomach,” Leroux offered.
Leroux recommends, in supplement form, that a person consumes a total of no more than 3 grams per day. He shared some different methods of getting hot pepper in your diet.
“I believe in eating whole foods and enjoy spicing up my food. I use mostly jalapenos and anaheims in my cooked meals and throw ground cayenne or flakes on my baked broccoli, carrots and brussel sprouts. I enjoy ‘hot’ sauces on my omelets, soaked hard boiled eggs or in burgers, meatloaf and meatballs. I do start every morning with a 500mg capsule of cayenne powder, with my ACV & lemon drink to jumpstart the digestive system and turn up the heat for my workout.” adding, “There is more than one way to feel the burn.”
So there you have it, a bit of science along with some expert advice. Now, what are you waiting for? Go feel the burn in the gym and in your diet and get a little closer to your finish line–a little faster.
Want more help? Go here.
***Leroux Redman is a MaxQ Nutrition expert contributor. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business, Management and Associate’s Degree in Sports Fitness, Recreation, and Services Management (Dietetics).
He is a former natural bodybuilder, natural nutrition coach, personal trainer and fat loss consultant PRÜVER, with 23+ years of fitness experience. As a serial entrepreneur, marketing and sales professional and Christian, he weaves his fitness and natural health passion into every endeavor.