Some of us love a little spice, some of us love a lot of spice but for all of you chili peppers lovers interesting rumours are starting to emerge, within the medical world, that spicy foods can actually help you lose weight. However, before rushing off to your local curry house for some hot food or investing in some extra hot chilli peppers to add to all your meals, it is important to remember that a balanced approach to weight loss is essential.
Simply adding a bit of spice or hot sauce to your meals will probably not lead to significant weight loss. Adding some spicy food to your diet may help WHEN used together with the major players in weight loss:-
- A healthy eating plan (cutting out sugar and refined carbohydrates is a good place to start)
- Resistance training or an exercise regime
- Increasing your water intake
- Sleep well: between 7 and 9 hours per night is optimum for weight loss
How does eating Spicy Food aid Weight Loss?
Are there any other Health Benefits to eating Spicy Foods?
On a general level, a huge study published in 2015, on almost 500,000 people in China claims that regularly eating spicy food reduced the risk of death by 14 % independent of other health factors. To maximise on this astounding statistics you need to eat spicy food daily. The protective effect of spicy food was found to be equal for both men and women but less for those that consume alcohol. So forget that beer with your curry!
Spices have been used by ancient Indian and Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Turmeric was used as an anti-inflammatory agent and is said to relieve pain, treat colic and gastro-intestinal disorders, chest pains and menstrual problems. Turmeric has also been shown in scientific studies to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels (triglycerides are circulating fats in the blood that deposit plaques in veins and arteries), hence preventing conditions caused by vascular disorders such as heart attacks and strokes.
Adding a tiny amount of chilli to your food can help increase your tolerance to hot spice and help you gradually build up to more therapeutic doses. If you are cooking for a lot of people, or for children, you can place fresh, sliced chillies as a side dish and let people help themselves according to their own taste preference. If you really do not like spicy food all is not lost for your weight loss plan. You could always try adding ginger to your cup of tea or mild curry powder to a quinoa recipe, or a little cumin to your next stir fry. There are a number of great capsaicin rich weight loss recipes that you can try . Adding a little bit of spice to your meal may improve the flavor and cause you to eat less and you will lose quite a bit of weight.
Furthermore, those in the study chose less high fat foods after consuming the spice further reducing the number of calories consumed. One of the problems with adding Capsaicin is that a lot of people can not tolerate the high doses of Capsaicin required, however in a study by Mattes and Ludy it was found that eating a moderate amount of Cayenne pepper (less than a teaspoon) also revved up calorie burning and reduced appetite.
Medical researchers carried out a study in Quebec whereby participants were given 0.9 grams of hot red pepper 10 minutes before an ‘eat all you can’ buffet. Despite being informed to eat until they were full, the food intake was lower by 8.5 % in the spice eating group, compared with the control group. This was found to be due to a 13.3 % decrease in fatty foods chosen. A similar study from the Netherlands concluded that satiety (feeling full) was improved after Capsaicin ingestion due to changes in gut hormones (GLP-1 and grehlin) that are responsible for stimulating hunger and satiety.
Questions and Answers
Are there any other herbs and spices that aid weight loss?
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