Nothing can replace a healthy diet and exercise in making those pounds and extra fat fly away, but certain factors are thought to boost weight loss and accelerate the whole process. When we start seeing results with diet and exercise, it tempts us to try some more different ways to burn a little more extra calories, and we look for stuff that can boost weight loss, albeit naturally. Recently, cayenne pepper and capsaicin have gained some popularity as weight loss boosting agents. Indian cuisine is incomplete without spices and we need our green and red chillies in good amount to add flavour to all our curries, so can the addition of capsaicin through green/red chillies help you lose weight?
What is Capsaicin?
It’s an active alkaloid substance which is what gives peppers its hot flavour and heat. Capsaicin causes thermogenesis in the body which causes more calorie burn. There are two types of fat – brown fat and white fat. White fat is found in majority in the body and it’s what causes obesity. Brown or adipose fat on the other hand, helps to regulate body temperature. Capsaicin targets brown fat and turns up the metabolism by activating brown fat. Now, where can we find the substance “capsaicin?” Capsaicin is the active ingredient/phytochemical in chilli peppers, capsicum. Cayenne pepper is a variety of pepper that has a good amount of capsaicin. Cayenne pepper is also known as red pepper, paprika, chilli pepper, and also found in tabasco. Cayenne pepper is usually available in dry or powder form. Apart from capsaicin, it also has a good amount of vitamin C, vitamin A and potassium.
Now, how do we measure capsaicin levels in peppers? The heat level in peppers is measured using Scoville Heat Scale, and when the units are higher – so are the capsaicin and heat levels.
The number of Scoville heat units (SHU) indicates the amount of capsaicin present in the pepper.
1. Bell peppers – 100 SHU
2. Cayenne pepper – 30,000-50,000 SHU
3. Habenero pepper -300,000 SHU
4. Moruga Scorpion pepper – 2,009,231 SHU
5. Pure capsaicin – 16 million SHU!
So, capsicum or bell peppers have the lowest amount of SHU and capsaicin level and would not lead to much thermogenesis. However, cayenne pepper and habenero pepper can set tongues on fire and boost metabolism at the same time too.
Benefits of Capsaicin:
- Reduces inflammation.
- Reduces blood sugar.
- Improves mood – leads to endorphin rush.
- Boosts metabolism.
- Capsaicin is used as an active ingredient in pepper spray.
Weight Loss Benefits:
Capsaicin is thought to increase metabolism up to 8 percent through a process called thermogenesis and also boosts metabolism. When the body has to raise its temperature, calories have to be burned in order to do so for energy generation. And this process of burning calories through thermogenesis is what gives capsaicin its credit with regards to weight loss. Some people also mention that capsaicin can help convert white fat (mainly found around abdominal area and internal organs) to brown fat (which is easy to burn). When you exercise regularly, the exact same thing happens – our body converts white fat into brown fat. Capsaicin also stimulates the sympathetic nervous system and speeds up metabolism, along with causing thermogenesis which all help with calorie burning. It’s also a substance that increases catecholamine and dopamine secretion which improves mood. Summarizing, capsaicin can help boost metabolism, aid in lipid oxidation, and also suppress appetite, but as we have already mentioned, weight loss is all about 80% diet and 20% exercise and these are just boosting techniques which may give the whole weight loss journey a little nudge and not any major push. There is no logic in taking pills to lose weight because instead of giving you desired results, it may actually ruin your health. Lose weight through natural means and the results would be long lasting.
Ways to Use Capsaicin to Boost Weight Loss:
1. Cayenne Pepper and Lemon Drink: This one is a detox drink and helps flush out toxins. To make this drink, take 2 tbsp of lemon juice, 1/10th tbsp of cayenne pepper and one glass of drinking water. Mix the ingredients well in water and drink it first thing in the morning for up to 10 days.
2. Maple syrup, Lemon and Cayenne Pepper: The measurements remain the same as above – 2 tbsp of lemon juice, 1/10th tbsp fo cayenne pepper, one glass of drinking water, and 2 tbsp of maple syrup. Consume this drink every morning for up to 10 days.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar and Cayenne Pepper: Take 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar, 1/8th tsp of cayenne pepper, and 1 whole lemon juice. Consume it in the morning on empty stomach.
4. Chia Seeds, Green Tea, Ginger and Cayenne Pepper Detox Tea: You can take this detox drink for up to one week and then stop. To make this drink, take 1 tbsp of chia seeds, 2 cups of hot water, 1 green tea bag, 1 whole lemon juice, 1 tbsp of crushed ginger, 1 tsp of honey, and just a pinch of cayenne pepper. Take this drink once in a day for 7 days to flush out toxins.
5. Tabasco sauce has a negligible amount of calories and no fat content. You can replace calorie-rich sauces with tabasco in sandwiches, Italian food, over toppings to get the benefit of capsaicin.
6. You can also use capsicum in curries and omelettes to get tiny amount of capsaicin too.
However, reiterating what we have already mentioned before, only a good diet (Rati Beauty diet programs) and exercise work for effective weight loss. Gulping down loads of capsaicin and tabasco sauce and igniting your tongue would bring in zero weight loss benefits when you are overeating, creating a calorie surplus in the body, and have absolutely no exercise routine. Also, overdoing capsaicin can cause gastrointestinal problems, heartburn and even ulcers, so use it with caution and consult your doctor.
How Low Energy Density Food can Help with Weight Loss
List of 32 Zero Calorie Foods For Weight Loss
15 Strategies to Stop Overeating
How Thermogenic Foods Can Help Burn Fat