A little spice in the food can transform the whole eating experience and many people enjoy the daring flavors of spicy cuisines from all over the world. Then there are rumors that say the special compounds in spicy foods may even aid in weight loss efforts. Could this be true?
While there are some impressive benefits in the chili pepper that can actually aid in your weight loss efforts — a point we will explore in depth throughout this article — it is important to understand that a chili a day will not make the pounds melt away — not by itself anyway.
Having said this, spicy foods and the effects they have can be a significant boost to an active plan for losing weight that includes the following three features:
Start with a Well-Balanced Diet
- Minimal absorption of toxic compounds found in processed foods, cigarettes and high levels of stress.
- Plenty of water each day
- Daily vigorous exercise
- Sufficient rest and sleep.
If you have checked off each of those items, then let’s jump into the many advantages of spicey foods in efforts to lose weight and achieve a healthier life.
Does Spicy Food Help You Lose Weight?
Weight loss is best effected by keeping the body burning more calories than it is regularly receiving. Studies made on different species of food have discovered that spicy foods like ginger, black pepper and hot chilies in all their colors and degrees of severity can actually help the body burn calories by increasing the temperature of the body as well as the heart rate. This can be an effective support to a healthy plan to lose weight.
A bowl of spicy curry or chili con carne can raise the metabolism by 8% and this begins to optimize the body’s energy process. Ginger and chili are also a big boost to the libido and can inspire the healthy human to explore other ways of burning calories.
Research on Spicy Food and Weight Loss
Medical science has narrowed down the MVP in hot foods and boosting weight loss. Capsaicin is the active ingredient in ginger, chili and peppers of all sorts and produces a burning sensation on contact. The higher the level of capsaicin the greater the heat factor of the food.
Habaneros and Naga chilies have enough capsaicin to blind a bear and cause hallucinations if eaten alone. Practice caution when exploring the world of spicy foods.
In a 2012 study on the effects of chili peppers on the body revealed the important benefits of red chili peppers in boosting the metabolism and fat burning process.
The study was performed on participants who ingested 1 – 3.5 grams of red pepper and tracked the significant increase in thermogenesis and the greatly increased fat oxidation that this caused.
In another study, 91 overweight individuals were submitted to a weight management program over a three-month span. Half of the participants were given a placebo and the other half a capsule containing 135 g of capsaicin.
The study also concluded that capsaicin greatly improved the body’s capacity to oxidize or burn fat supplies.
Incorporating a tolerable amount of chili into the diet each day has been found to be the most effective way to gain the benefits of capsaicin for weight loss goals.
But avoid capsaicin supplements as these are not an effective way of enjoying the benefits. If you want the burn to help you you must first love the burn.
Other Health Benefits Linked to Spicy Foods
Many of the spices and condiments we enjoy today actually begun as medicines and herbal treatments of the ancient apothecaries.
With so many health benefits for these fiery cuisines, we can see why so many cultures incorporate these healthy flavorings to their national cuisines.
A massive study conducted in China found that the regular consumption of spicy may reduce the risk of early death by as much as 14%. This effect was found to be the same in men and women, although those that also drank alcohol regularly received no such benefits.
Turmeric is another spicy ingredient that has been found effective in warding off excess weight and the health conditions they can bring.
Turmeric reduces the levels of triglycerides in the bloodstream and this can help to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Better Ways to Lose Weight
Of course, if weight loss is your goal, it’s going to take more than just putting some hot sauce on your meal of choice! You’re actually going to have to stick with a plan that is designed to help you lose weight.
There are plenty of proven diets and programs out there, so if you’re looking for some proven weight loss methods, check out The Diet Dynamo more more information on a bunch of great diets.
In the meantime, though, here are few of our favorite diets that you may want to consider:
- Weight Watchers Digital
- South Beach Diet
- Trim Down Club
- Bistro MD
Of course, there are plenty of other great diet programs out there as well, so if you decide these aren’t your style be sure to dig around a bit.
If you’re looking to get started with something that’s cheap and easy to follow, I’d suggest taking a look at the new Weight Watchers Digital program (read more about it here). There are a few reasons that it’s one of our most recommended diets, including:
- It’s Very Affordable: If you go with their Digital-only plan you can get it for around $3 per week.
- It Works: Weight Watchers may have changed the name of things recently, but their points-based system has been helping people lose weight and get healthier for decades now.
- A Community of Support: Connect with other WW members to meet new people, get support, and share goals.
- New Zero Points Foods: WW now has a list of 200+ foods that don’t count against your point total!
The best part is, with Weight Watchers you are charge of your menu for the day, and if spicy foods are what you’re looking for, they have plenty of recipes and recommendations that can be part of your menu!
While there is some evidence that spicy foods can help with weight loss, it’s going to take much more than a few chili peppers to help you reach your weight loss goals.
If you’re looking to drop a few pounds, we’d recommend finding a diet or program that can teach you what it takes to lose weight, and keep it off for good.