Have you ever considered Cayenne Pepper Pills for weight loss?
Do you want to learn about cayenne pepper pills for weight loss and how to use it?
In this article I review the science and separate facts from myth. Find out if it's right for you!
Otherwise, here's the in-depth review of cayenne pepper pills as well as the diet for weight loss.
Here is what we'll cover:
Let's Get Started
On the menu at Atomic Wings in New York are Buffalo Wings with Suicidal Sauce.
These puppies are hot.
I pity the man who eats one.
You can see the pain in his face. He starts to sweat. Mouth on fire. One of Dante’s levels of hell. Somewhere between gluttony and avarice.
Maybe this has happened to you? Eating spicy Thai food and enjoying the burn on your lips. Suddenly you sweat and feel warm all over.
Or maybe you dare a friend to bite a Habenero pepper? The results are similar. He lit his mouth on fire. Probably used a large glass of Milk to put out the flame.
You can blame the hot peppers for the sweating.
This is thermogenesis in action. And this process burns calories.
So, if calories are burned by eating a food, this could be the Holy Grail of weight loss solutions. Hot peppers may be the key ingredient to the world’s weight loss problem.
Hence the interest in a cayenne pepper diet.
If you want to learn more about the cayenne pepper diet . . . follow me.
In this article I will review the science of cayenne pepper on mice and men and separate the fact from fiction.
My goal is to thoroughly review the basic science as well as human studies to provide you the strongest cayenne pepper diet review I can muster.
At the end you will be well informed and can decide if a cayenne pepper diet is for you.
Cayenne Pepper Diet Basics: Capsicum and stuff
Cayenne pepper is a popular spice.
As a plant it is a member of the genus Capsicum annuum. Capsicum is Latin for “Kapto” meaning “to bite” (1).
Historically, Columbus tasted the red berries when he arrived in the Americas on his first voyage. The berries he ate were pungent, similar to a another pepper, Piper nigrum, black pepper. Because the berries were red he called them “red pepper.” Columbus is credited with spreading the red pepper or chile to Europe, Africa and Asia (2).
The terminology surrounding cayenne is a source of confusion. The Capsicum genus can be referred in general as “cayenne,” but also “red chile,” “chili pepper,” “hot red pepper,” “tabasco,” or “paprika.”
Cayenne pepper and other peppers have been heralded for their medicinal health benefits for centuries. The Aztecs used Chili to relieve toothaches, while the the Mayans used them to treat coughs, colds, sore throat and asthma (2).
The Cayenne pepper is grown in tropical and subtropical climates. It grows on a shrub.
Much of the United States supply of Cayenne pepper is imported from India and Africa.
Intake of Chili peppers differs between and within cultures widely. In the United States only 10% of people consume any type of pepper on a regular basis (4). Though spicy/hot is reported as one of the most appealing flavors in the United States (3). In fact, about 65% of consumers in the United states list “Spicy” as one of their favorite flavors (5).
As more people immigrate to the United States, they also bring their spicier traditional foods. US consumers are warming up to these food options and chefs use the hot and pungent ingredients to spice up new and interesting dishes (5).
Cayenne pepper or chili pepper is made into either a powder or flake by drying the plant. The pepper is than either crushed into flakes or ground into a powder.
You can then use it for your favorite dishes. Usually as a seasoning or in your Grandmother’s Chili Recipe.
Origins of the “Cayenne Pepper Diet”
There is a cleansing diet popularized by a book The Master Cleanser: With Special Needs and Problems by Stanley Burroughs (1976). Ingredients include lemons, maple syrup, purified water and cayenne pepper. This is believed to be the original “cayenne pepper diet” also known as a “Cayenne pepper cleanse.”
This cleansing formula and all cleansing diets have absolutely NO evidence of effectiveness. There is no available scientific literature. I will NOT be referring to this diet, but to the evidence in general about cayenne pepper, other red peppers and their active substances. Any cleansing program could be dangerous as they promote dehydration (fluid loss) and could therefore promote electrolyte abnormalities such as a low sodium level. This type of program would certainly lead to short-term weight loss because of the free water loss it promotes (dehydration), but would also promote muscle breakdown if used long enough. A cleansing or detox diet may also lead to binge eating and worsening weight gain. Do yourself a favor and stay away from the cayenne pepper cleanse.
Also, natural cleansing occurs by the liver. There is no need for a cleansing diet. It literally makes no sense. If this is even a consideration for you, you need to speak with your doctor.
Health Benefits: What’s Hot About Cayenne Pepper?
Capsaicin is the most well known of the active substances. Though as we will learn, Capsaicin is just one of a family of chemical compounds within the peppers that are “active.” Capsaicin is only found in the capsicum species of plant.
Capsaicin is a colorless, crystalline substance discovered in 1816 and first isolated in it’s mostly pure form in 1876. Then, isolated in completely pure form in 1898.
Chemically capsaicin is an alkaloid.
Capsaicin is one of a class of substances called “capsaicinoids.” Capsaicin is the most prevalent of about seven capsaicinoids. The seven capsaicinoids include: capsaicin, dihydrocapsaicin, nordihydrocapsaicin, norcapsaicin, nornordihydrocapsaicin, homocapsaicin, homodihydrocapsaicin.
Each of the molecules has a small variation on their chemical structure making them each unique. Much like your fun uncles. Each are slightly different, but much of their curiosities are the same.
All of the capsaicinoids are found in hot chili peppers. They are produced in the “placenta” of the plant and can become absorbed into the seed.
The capsaicinoids bring the heat to peppers. As chemesthetic agents, they activate receptors in the mouth that cause pain, burning or tingling (5). The concentrations of the capsaicinoids is responsible for the varieties of pungency in different types of peppers (2). These differences are genetic and affected by growing conditions. Stress on the plant during growing, such as dryness and arid weather conditions, may cause an increase in the pungency of the pepper (6).
There is a group of similar compounds also found in the peppers that are not spicy or hot. They are called “Capsinoids.” Capsinoids are found in all of the Capsicum genus of plants, including chili peppers (7).
Capsinoids are structurally very similar to capsaicin. The capsinoids include three known substances: capsiate, dihydrocapsiate and nordihydrocapsiate. Functionally they are extracted from the plant together and are referred to in most studies as “capsinoids.”
Capsinoids have been extracted from a non-pungent pepper called CH-19 Sweet (8). The capsinoids are “non-pungent.” Meaning they are not hot or spicy. The capsinoids do not stimulate the same receptors in the mouth to cause heat or pain. The receptors are deep within crypts in the tongue. Because of a molecular difference, the capsinoid molecules cannot get deep enough into the crypts to stimulate the pain receptor.
Once ingested, however, capsinoids can trigger receptors in the gut similar to capsaicinoids (like capsaicin). Therefore, capsinoids will generate similar metabolic effects as capsaicinoids.
So, you may be asking . . . what does a pepper need capsaicin for?
To keep the pesky herbivores away. Such as us humans.
Capsaicin may also keep fungi away (9).
Generally speaking capsaicin and it’s relative compounds are chemical irritants keeping the critters away. This is nature’s repellant. A defense mechanism.
Birds are the natural dispersal agent for peppers. Birds swallow the seeds which pass through the digestive tract unharmed. This allows the pepper seeds to be excreted and hit the ground to germinate.
Mammals have pesky molars that destroy the seeds preventing germination.
The capsaicin, however, deters the mammal from eating the pepper.
Theoretically, capsaicin may have evolved as a natural selection to keep animals away that would not pass on the seeds for germination.
How to Measure the Heat produced by Capsaicin?
In 1912 an American pharmacist named Wilbur Scovile published a paper (10) on how to measure the heat of a pepper.
Wilbur Scoville was an American pharmacist who worked at Parke, Davis & Company. He helped develop a muscle salve called Heet. The active ingredient was chile pepper.
Scoville was in charge of testing the formulation of chiles needed to give just the right amount of heat to the muscle. Too much and a serious burn would ensue.
He serially diluted the peppers and had a panel of five humans taste the dilutions for pungency - the intensity of the flavor.
This was known as the Scoville Organoleptic Scale.
Still known as the Scoville scale and measured as Scoville Heat Units (SHU).
The scale allows a comparison of the heat amongst peppers. Researchers now use a the more accurate High-Performance Liquid Chromatography to measure the heat. The results are often converted to Scoville Heat Units using a multiplier.
Here is a comparison of some hot stuff:
- Bell peppers 100 SHU
- Cayenne pepper 30,000-50,000 SHU
- Habenero pepper 300,000 SHU
- Moruga Scorpion pepper 2,009,231 SHU
- US Grade Pepper Spray 5,300,000 SHU
- Pure capsacian 16 million SHU!
Scientists search out exotic peppers to find the hottest.
The Moruga Scorpion Pepper, the first pepper over 2 million SHU, is the current World Leader in pepper hotness as of the time of this writing (11).
Let’s now discover how these substances could lead to weight loss
. . . starting with rodents.
The “Cayenne Pepper Diet” for Rodents
Most science begins with our fuzzy friends, the rodents. Sharing over 97.5% of our genetics, they are a good biologic model. Though, not perfect.
A series of studies (12, 13) found that when capsaicin is given intravenously to rats, catecholamines will be excreted by the adrenal medulla. The catecholamine Epinephrine, also known as ADRENALINE, was especially elevated in these rats (13). This along with other studies (14,15) suggests that capsaicin stimulates the sympathetic nervous system to cause release of adrenaline. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the stress response, otherwise known as“fight-or-flight.”
What does this have to do with weight loss?
The sympathetic nervous system causes fat breakdown (fat oxidation) and increased “energy metabolism” (fuel burning). There are also effects on tissues causing heat production (thermogenesis).
When the sympathetic nervous system is turned on, calories get burned.
So, if calories are burned, weight loss is possible. This mechanism of stimulating the nervous system to rev up the mice metabolism could lead to weight loss.
The next logical step is to prove that a “cayenne pepper diet” will actually help chubby mice lose weight.
Let’s look into this.
One study (16) looked at feeding rats a diet with 30% lard along with capsaicin for 10 days. The researchers then weighed the perirenal fat pad of the mice. The fat pads of mice given capsaicin weighed less. Presumably the capsaicin helped them maintain a lower weight.
Now a mouse study.
Researchers (9) housed mice in a windowless room. They were given 12 hours of light, 12 hours of dark for 2 weeks. The mice were allowed to feed ad lib. This means they ate what they wanted, when they wanted it. Think Country Buffet for mice.
The mice were given 10mg/kg of capsaicin or they were given capsiate at either 10 mg/kg or 50 mg/kg. The doses were given by a stomach tube. This was done to avoid an all-out mouse revolt due to the “pungency” of capsaicin. The dose of capsaicin used would be too hot for mice or men. There was also a control group given a placebo.
After 2 weeks the mice were killed and their organs removed and weighed.
The groups fed capsaicin and capsiate had lower body weight. The weight of fat pads were also lower. The weights of the organs (such as liver, kidneys, etc) were no different.
This suggests that both capsaicin and capsiate caused weight loss in mice.
There was NO difference between the high dose (50 mg/kg) capsiate group and the low dose (10 mg/kg) capsiate group. Previous research has showed that smaller doses of 2.5-5 mg/kg of capsiate did NOT significantly lower weights in mice. This suggests that 10 mg/kg is optimal and there is no need for higher doses (in mice).
I should also note that these “doses” are much higher than what has been studied in human trials as you will see later in the article.
Here’s another interesting point.
This study suggests that the pungency or hotness of the capsaicin does NOT matter.
The burning in the mouth may have nothing to do with stimulating the nervous system, increasing metabolism or weight loss. They bypassed the mouth altogether with the stomach tube. The capsaicin still caused weight loss and metabolic effects such as increased adrenaline release and energy consumption. Studies in humans have attempted to answer this question and have come up with mixed results (17, 18, 3). So, it is uncertain whether you need to feel the mouth burn to get weight loss effects.
These studies suggest a benefit of a cayenne pepper diet in rodents.
However, does the “cayenne pepper diet” apply to humans?
We must avoid the temptation to generalize our friendly rodent findings to humans. This is one way pseudoscience gets a foothold. We must insist on higher standards. We acknowledge the animal science and use it as a springboard for further research.
What is needed are randomized controlled trials in humans comparing the cayenne pepper diet to a control group over time. A randomized controlled trial is consider the gold standard of science and would help us make a decision on whether the cayenne pepper diet is right for you.
Fortunately, human studies on the “cayenne pepper diet” exist.
The “Cayenne Pepper Diet” for Humans
Evidence is available on the cayenne pepper diet in humans. However, only a few studies actually looked at consuming the whole red pepper.
Consuming red pepper is not pleasing to everyone. In Mexico, for instance, taste buds are well adapted to the spicy fruit. However, in America it may not be pleasing to ingest the amount of red pepper needed to produce weight loss.
Much of the initial research studied the effect of the active ingredients, either capsaicinoids or capsinoids, on metabolic factors and weight loss.
They focussed on secondary factors that may suggest that weight loss is possible. These include enhanced metabolism, lipid oxidation and appetite suppression.
Energy Expenditure (Calories Burned)
Energy expenditure is the total of energy we burn. This energy is thought to be the sum of three things:
- Basal metabolic rate (energy burned at rest)
- Thermic effect of food (energy burned to digest and absorb food)
- Physical activity
The sum is the total energy expenditure, which can be measured in calories.
To study the effects of energy expenditure researchers measured the metabolic rate, body temperature as well as oxygen consumption.
One review of the evidence (19) showed that most of the quality evidence looking into energy expenditure showed a benefit with red pepper consumption.
This 50 calories per day is the difference between obesity and normal weight.
A pound of fat is 3500 calories. Fifty calories per day over a week is 350 calories burned. Within 10 weeks you would expect to burn about one pound. Not bad. That would be about 5-6 pounds burned in a year. Or 50-60 pounds in 10 years.
I know you want faster results, but for most people this is the difference between obesity and a normal weight - 50 calories a day over 10 years. Two bites of toast. A piece of candy. A small teaspoon of sugar. One small square of butter. This stuff adds up.
The evidence varied on how long the effects of increased energy expenditure would last. Some studies showed that a single meal of red pepper increased energy expenditure for 30 minutes. However, another study showed effects lasting up to 180 minute after a meal.
Fat Oxidation (fat breakdown)
Several studies (19) have also examined fat breakdown on humans by ingestion of either a single meal of red pepper or active substance (capsiniod/capsaicinoid). They also studied fat breakdown over several meals and longer time frames, up to 3 months. Eleven trials were identified and seven found benefits on lipid oxidation.
In one study (22) fat oxidation was only seen in those with a BMI over 25. This suggests the possibility that benefits are greater for those with higher levels of fat tissue.
Appetite suppression was studied in seven trials (19). Generally the studies looked at the total intake of food after a meal with red pepper or capsules given with capsinoid/capsaicinoid. Four of the trials found that participants decreased their food intake after a meal with red pepper. Two studies found no change in appetite. One study found a decrease in desire to eat and in preoccupation with food (3).
The summary of the evidence on the metabolic effects of the cayenne pepper diet seems to suggest the possibility of effects in humans causing increased calories burned, fat breakdown and suppression of appetite.
This suggests that the cayenne pepper diet could lead to weight loss in humans. I would emphasize, however, that this is not direct evidence that red pepper or the active compounds capsinoid/capsacinoid cause weight loss.
The combined effects of calories burned, fat breakdown and appetite suppression may not be enough to cause actual weight loss in humans in real life settings. Several questions remain. We do not know whether any weight loss in humans is sustainable over a long period of time. If there is significant weight loss, is there also weight regain over time? Is it significant enough to make a real difference in people’s lives? For instance, you may not be interested in consuming 10 grams of red pepper per day if you only lose 3 pounds in 10 years. This may be intolerable. The adverse effects may not outweigh the benefits.
What is needed are controlled human studies. The highest standard of evidence is the randomized controlled trial. Taking two groups, give one the treatment and the other a placebo. Keep them blinded to what they are getting and measure the outcomes.
Fortunately for us these trials exist for the cayenne pepper diet.
Randomized Controlled Trials of the Cayenne Pepper Diet in Humans
One of the largest studies (though admittedly still small based on science standards) looked at capsinoids placed in a capsule (23). They extracted capsinoid from the CH-19 sweet pepper and and placed the substance in capsules for use. The study was a small, double blind randomized controlled trial.
They gave 6 milligrams of capsinoids per day to 41 obese participants (the treatment group) and a placebo capsule to 39 more participants who were also obese (the control group). They followed the groups for 12 weeks and measured body weight as well as body composition (by DEXA scan) before and after.
- NO change in weight loss.
- NO change in body fat percentage.
- Abdominal fat improved
So, this study suggests the possibility that capsinoid capsules in the short term (3 months) may help with the waistline a bit. But NO change in total weight or total fat percentage.
The improvement in your waistline would be roughly 0.9 cm or about 4/10 of an inch.
Not much to write home about.
One criticism of the study is that a high enough dose of the “active compound” may not have been used - only 6 mg of capsinoids. In our rodent studies researchers used doses as high as 10 to 50 mg/kg. The optimal dose seemingly around 10mg/kg. In a 220 pound (100 kg) human this would equate to roughly 100 mg of “active compound.”
There was only one quality study that looked at doses this high (24). They took 120 overweight participants and randomized them into two groups. The participants were put on a very low energy diet for one month.
During the first month on the very low energy diet, participants lost on average about 6-7 kilograms (about 15 pounds).
This was followed by three month “weight maintenance” period. During the weight maintenance period the groups received either 135 milligrams of capsaicin per day or a placebo. The participants were followed for three more months to determine if there was a difference in the amount of weight regain.
The results showed NO difference in weight regain between the groups.
This study suggests that capsaicin even at the “higher doses” did NOT help to prevent weight regain in subjects that had lost weight on a very low energy diet.
These randomized trials are the strongest evidence for or against a cayenne pepper diet in the literature. The studies are relatively small and not convincing of any meaningful effect. They are also very short, lasting only 3-4 months. Not nearly long enough to give us reasonable information. You want sustained weight loss over time. Longer studies could prove that cayenne pepper is beneficial. Again, a mere 50 calories a day may make a difference. We may simply need more time for the effect to occur. We do not know.
We also do not know if weight regain would occur.
For instance, the effect may wear off as you get used to the spice.
Have you ever wondered why some people can eat super-spicy foods and others simply cannot tolerate the heat? The reason for this is that over time and constant exposure to spicy foods we become desensitized. Studies have found that prolonged activation of the receptor in the mouth caused reduced responsiveness to capsaicin (27, 28).
The same process that occurs in the mouth could occur in the intestine and internal organs. The body may get rid of the receptors. This process is called “down-regulation.” If there are fewer receptors, then the response is diminished.
There are examples of this in drugs that work on other receptors in the body such as morphine on the opiate receptors.
Weight regain occurs in almost every study on weight loss from both diet and drugs. So, some weight regain would be expected in longer studies with a “Cayenne Pepper Diet” or a diet supplemented with either capsaicin or capsiate.
How much cayenne pepper is needed for weight loss?
Cayenne pepper (and its active ingredients Capsaicin and Capsiate among others) comes in three forms: capsule, powder and an extract.
The “Cayenne Pepper Pill” for Weight Loss
Cayenne pepper can be bought in capsule form. At GNC, capsules of Cayenne Pepper are available. The “dose” is 500 mg. This is likely the raw ground pepper and not a concentrate of capsinoids or capsiates.
Most of the studies looked at doses of the active ingredients capsacin or capsinoid extracts in a capsule form. To be clear, this was not powdered Cayenne pepper packed in a capsule. An extract was made from taking the pepper fruit (likely many of them) and removing the capsinoid or capscacinoid oils.
For instance, to get purified capsinoids, they would treat the pepper fruit with hexane and remove the fruit sediment by filtration, evaporation and distillation to get purified capsinoid consisting of capsiate, dihydrocapsiate and nordihydrocasiate. The active ingredients. They would then place this in capsules for the study participants. The dose studied using this technique ranged from 1 mg to 12 mg per day depending on the study. Remember this is milligrams of a purified active ingredient. Not a dried pepper all ground up.
To further illustrate.
The Cayenne Long Slim Pepper contains the active capsaicin at 0.1 mg/kg dry weight (8). If we take the 500 mg of powdered cayenne pepper in our GNC capsule by weight, there would be about 0.00005 mg of active ingredient in the capsule. This is an insignificant trace amount of active ingredient compared to the studies. Even if you take the recommended dose of 1 capsule per day with each meal you are getting literally a fraction of the actual active ingredient.
Let’s look at it another way.
A teaspoon of cayenne pepper weights about 1.86 grams or 0.00186 kilograms.
[0.00186 kg x 0.1 mg / kg = 0.000186 mg of active ingredient]
So, you need 10,000 teaspoons of cayenne pepper per day to get 1-2 grams of active ingredient.
This is a load of pepper to sprinkle in your Chili.
This is also the low end of the doses used in the studies.
The point is, taking cayenne pepper is different than taking the purified active compound, which is what was studied.
There are also preparations of cayenne liquid extract available. These are either not labeled well enough to understand the true concentration of what might be in the product or labeled in heat units. For instance, Dr. Christopher's Cayenne Extract Original Formulas delivers 40,000 H.U. (heating units), presumably this is Scoville Heat Units (SHU).
An article on a popular website recommend cayenne pepper extract 30,000 to 80,000 heat units prior to meals and to consider adding caffeine and green tea to “stack thermogenics.” An alternative recommendation was to drink one or two cups of coffee brewed with a green tea bag and add 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper. Again, a silly recommendation considering the 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper is a diminutive dose.
The idea of “stacking thermogenic” substances together has been studied. Though, studies are scant, small and do not offer any evidence of the outcome of weight loss.
In one small study (25) they fed 8 healthy, normal weight test subjects 12 grams of red pepper per day along with 200 mg of caffeine. They were fed the red pepper and given caffeine as appetizers over lunch and dinner. They were then asked to eat ad lib for the rest of the meals until full. They measured participant intake.
When the participants consumed the red pepper and caffeine they consumed less overall energy, including energy from protein, lipid and carbohydrate. The resting energy expenditure was higher in the red pepper/caffeine group during the day, but interestingly lower during the night. Overall resting energy expenditure was still higher in the red pepper/caffeine group.
The study suggests the possibility that stacking the thermogenics may help decrease overall intake of foods. Though, again, this study does not demonstrate any weight loss and was small with only 8 patients.
A Denmark study (26) looked at the combination of capsaicin and green tea in 27 patients. Subjects were studied for 3 weeks in positive energy balance (where they ate too much) and negative energy balance (where they ate less). The effects on appetite and energy balance were studied. The combination of capsaicin and green tea decreased energy balance, reduced the “liking” of meals. Capsaicin and caffeine also reduced the desire to eat fatty, salty, hot and bitter foods.
This suggests that there may be a synergistic effect of the combination of red pepper / capsaicin and caffeine. Though, these studies are small and by no means conclusive. We cannot base any final conclusions on only 2 studies with a total of 35 patients. Neither of these studies looked at the outcome of weight loss in any meaningful way. Again, what we need are randomized controlled trials over the long term (years) to really know if red pepper and caffeine consumption stacked together would be at all useful for weight loss.
Why would others claim weight loss with a Cayenne Pepper Diet?
There are many reasons.
When we decide to make change we often make more than one change at a time. For instance, you decided that for New Year’s you were going to lose weight. You go to Wall-mart and pick up some Cayenne Pepper capsules and take 3 per day. You also start walking more and make better food choices, such as eating more vegetables and fruits. You drink more water. Some of this may even happen without even being fully aware of your decisions. Good behavior begets good behavior. People who take supplements are more likely to be highly motivated to also make other changes in thier life. So, it is really unknown where the true benefit comes from.
When someone states on the internet, on some weight loss forum or in a product review in the comments section on Wal-Mart.com that the product helped them is called anecdotal evidence. Anecdotal evidence is the weakest form. You do not know if what helped them was the cayenne pepper supplement, an improved diet, more exercise, or some funky placebo effect.
You also do not see the full picture over time. Did the person have more side effects and stop the capsules? Did they do fine and continue on, but the effect wore off and they regained the weight? But now MORE weight? Remember, studies on weight loss invariably show weight regain to some degree.
Secondly, people tend to be be positively biased. The person for whom cayenne pepper capsules did NOT help are NOT returning to wallmart.com to purchase more and therefore forget to leave any negative product review. They were not harmed, just not helped, so why bother with a review about how it was a waste of money? However, the person truly believing in the magic of cayenne pepper, returning for more at Wallmart.com, is more likely to leave a review.
Is the cayenne pepper diet hot or not?
The information is for you to make an informed decision. I will update this article as the research evolves. Undoubtedly, there will be progress. New research and new findings. Time will tell.
Your best bet may be to simply enjoy the burn. Cook more. Add new and interesting hot spices to your dishes. Spice up your vegetables.
If you only do this one thing, in place of eating out, I have no doubt you will lose weight.
- The active substance in the cayenne pepper diet are capsaicinoids and capsinoids. The most well known and most abundant substance is capsaicin.
- Animal studies suggest increased calories burned, fat breakdown and heat production suggesting the possibility of weight loss
- Human studies suggest a beneficial role in calories burned, fat breakdown and appetite suppression
- Human randomized controlled trials are mixed suggesting a small reduction in abdominal fat, but not overall weight; studies available are small and of insufficient time length to know if weight loss could be accomplished in the long term. The timeframes studied do not allow us to make any conclusions about the possibility of weight regain, which is universally common in the weight loss literature.
- Capsaicin did not prevent weight regain in humans
- The dose required for weight loss maybe more than tolerable for red pepper ingestion
- Supplements are available over the counter as capsules and as extracts. The concentration of active substance is difficult to define, variable, not standardized and not regulated by the FDA. There may not be available doses high enough to be significant based on concentrations in animal and human studies.
- The active substance in cayenne pepper powder may not be in a significant enough concentration to be practical to help with weight loss
- Combining red pepper and caffeine may have synergistic benefit, but studies are scant, small and do not address any outcome of weight loss
- More research on humans are needed. Studies need to be larger and longer to further define if the metabolic benefits lead to actual weight loss. Longer studies will also help to clarify whether weight regain occurs or is prevented.
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Hot Chili by Bernhard Minatti from 500px.com
Red Hot Chili Peppers by Nicolai Bonig from 500px.com
Chili Powder by Tim Sackton on Flickr