Love to have your food with extra pepper? Well, other than spicing up your taste buds, it will also help you lose those extra inches around the waist.
Food scientists have said that hot peppers contain a substance called capsaicin that can actually cause your body to heat up.
However, now researchers have found growing evidence that the body-heat-generating power of peppers might even lend a hand in our quest to lose those extra inches accumulating around the waistline.
And fortunately for those who do not appreciate the "burn" of hot peppers, there are plants that make a non-burning version of capsaicin called dihydrocapsiate (DCT) that could have the benefits of peppers without the pungency.
In a study aimed to test the weight-loss potential of this DCT containing, non-spicy cousin of hot peppers, researchers at the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition set out to document its ability to increase heat production in human subjects consuming a weight-loss diet.
Led by David Heber, the researchers recruited 34 men and women who were willing to consume a very low-calorie liquid meal replacement product for 28 days.
The researchers then randomised the subjects to take either placebo pills or supplements containing the non-burning DCT pepper analog.
Two dosage levels of DCT were tested. At the beginning and end of the study, body weight and body fat were assessed, and the researchers determined energy expenditure (heat production) in each subject after he or she consumed one serving of the test meal.
Their data provided convincing evidence that, at least for several hours after the test meal was consumed, energy expenditure was significantly increased in the group consuming the highest amount of DCT.
In fact, it was almost double that of the placebo group, which indicated that eating this pepper-derived substance that doesn't burn, can have the same potential benefit as hot peppers at least in part by increasing food-induced heat production.
They also showed that DCT significantly increased fat oxidation, pushing the body to use more fat as fuel.
This may help people lose weight when they consume a low-calorie diet by increasing metabolism.
However, the study has a limitation—researchers only tested the effect of DCT on the thermic response to a single meal.
The study was presented at the Experimental Biology 2010 meeting in Anaheim, CA.