Red cayenne pepper may help burn calories and curb appetite, especially in people who aren’t used to eating it, says a new study that was partly supported by the National Institutes of Health and the McCormick Spice Company.
The study found that about half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper either mixed in food or swallowed in a capsule helped normal-weight young adults burn about 10 more calories over a four-hour period, compared to eating the same meal but without the red pepper.
Pepper also decreased appetite, especially in people who said they didn’t already eat spicy foods.
Study researcher Richard Mattes, PhD, RD, distinguished professor of foods and nutrition at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., thinks that the pepper is stimulating the trigeminal nerve, one of the main nerves in the head and neck.
“Chemesthesis is the term for chemical irritation, and that’s the sense that this work focused on,” Mattes says. “What we were interested in is, does activation of that system lead to increases in energy expenditure, alterations in appetite and food intake, and so on.”
“The appetite responses were different between those who liked red pepper and those who did not, suggesting that when the stimulus is unfamiliar it has a greater effect,” Mattes says in a news release.
VIA WEBMD.COM Read more:Cayenne Pepper May Burn Calories, Curb Appetite.