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Posted by Elizebath Bijoy Thursday, April 28, 2011

London: Spicing up the daily diet with some red pepper can curb appetite and help burn unwanted calories, a study says.

'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,' said Richard Mattes, professor of foods and nutrition at Purdue University, who led the study. 

'Dietary changes that don't require great effort to implement, like sprinkling red pepper on your meal, may be sustainable and beneficial in the long run, especially when paired with exercise and healthy eating,' the journal Physiology and Behaviour, quoting Mattes, said.Other studies have found that capsaicin, the component that gives chili peppers their heat, can reduce hunger and increase energy expenditure burning calories. 

The current study measured the effects of the spice using quantities of red pepper -- one gram or half a teaspoon -- that are acceptable for many consumers, according to a Purdue statement. Other studies also have looked at consumption via a capsule, but doctoral student Mary-Jon Ludy and Mattes' study demonstrated that tasting the red pepper may optimise its effects. 

This study used ordinary dried, ground cayenne red pepper.Cayenne is a chili pepper, which is among the most commonly consumed spices in the world.Most, but not all, chili peppers contain capsaicin. A group of non-overweight people, half who liked spicy food and half who did not, participated in the six-week study. 

The preferred level of pepper for each group was determined in advance, and those who did not like red pepper preferred 0.3 grams compared to regular spice users who preferred 1.8 grams. In general, red pepper consumption did increase core body temperature and burn more calories through natural energy expenditure.Mattes said the findings also show that red pepper should be consumed in non-capsule form because the taste - the sensory experience - maximises the digestive process.


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