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April 26, 2011

Red pepper may help curb a big appetite

A sprinkle of red pepper will burn more than your mouth, according to some new research. It can burn calories.

Purdue University researchers found that a half teaspoon of the spice can be a weight-loss aid, along with other dietary changes and exercise. That’s less than previous studies have shown. Though, the effects were stronger for those who don’t like to eat red pepper.

“We found that consuming red pepper can help manage appetite and burn more calories after a meal, especially for individuals who do not consume the spice regularly,” Richard Mattes, professor of foods and nutrition who collaborated with doctoral student Mary-Jon Ludy, said in a statement.

“This finding should be considered a piece of the puzzle because the idea that one small change will reverse the obesity epidemic is simply not true. However, if a number of small changes are added together, they may be meaningful in terms of weight management.”

It’s the capsaicin, which gives chili peppers their heat, that researchers say can reduce hunger and increase energy expenditure, or burning calories. Unlike past studies, the Purdue researchers found that 1 gram of ordinary dried and ground cayenne red pepper was acceptable to eaters and effective. Capsules don’t work because consumers have to taste the pepper, according to the Purdue study, published in Physiology & Behavior.

The study looked at 13 people who liked spicy food and 12 who didn’t. Those who didn’t consume pepper regularly saw the biggest impact on hunger. This suggests that the pepper losses its efficacy as it becomes familiar. Researchers said more studies will be needed to determine how to prolong effectiveness.

Posted by Meredith Cohn at 11:33 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Diet and exercise

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About Picture of Health
Meredith CohnMeredith Cohn has been a reporter since 1991, covering everything from politics and airlines to the environment and medicine. A runner since junior high and a particular eater for almost as long, she tries to keep up on health and fitness trends. Her aim is to bring you the latest news and information from the local and national medical and wellness communities.

Andrea K. WalkerAndrea K. Walker knows it’s weird to some people, but she has a fascination with fitness, diseases, medicine and other health-related topics. She subscribes to a variety of health and fitness magazines and becomes easily engrossed in the latest research in health and science. An exercise fanatic, she’s probably tried just about every fitness activity there is. Her favorites are running, yoga and kickboxing. So it is probably fitting that she has been assigned to cover the business of healthcare and to become a regular contributor to this blog. Andrea has been at The Sun for nearly 10 years, covering manufacturing, retail , airlines and small and minority business. She looks forward to telling readers about the latest health news.

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