Chili peppers like cayenne pepper have long been associated with weight loss due to their spice content. As spice is believed to speed up the rate of fat metabolism and lower cravings. This is probably why cayenne pepper is such a popular ingredient in most fat burners on the market. Still, I believe it's worth taking a closer look at what exactly makes this herb such a potent weight loss ingredient.
To finally answer the question whether cayenne pepper helps with weight loss or not — I went through all the relevant scientific literature I could find on the topic.
Here’s what I found.
What is Cayenne Pepper?
Cayenne Pepper — scientifically known as capsicum annum — is a moderately hot chili pepper belonging to the nightshade plant family. The herb has long been used in seasoning and flavoring dishes but has only recently been popularized as a weight loss ingredient.
What Does the Science Say?
According to the scientific analysis I’ve done of the herb, here are some of the ways in which it impacts weight loss.
Increases Fat Metabolism Directly
Cayenne Pepper is one of the few ingredients in popular weight loss supplements that can speed up the rate of fat metabolism in your body directly. A benefit that’s only possible because of its high capsaicin content.
Capsaicin is a thermogenic (heat producing) chemical that’s been proven to increase fat oxidation. A role that’s reviewed in detail in a 2017 study. The study basically highlights capsaicin’s role in activating the transient receptor TRPV1. Its activation directly increases the metabolization of stored fat in the body and its subsequent conversion into energy.
Plus, the inclusion of spice in any diet is bound to raise the amount of calories you burn on a daily basis. Thus, helping you maintain a negative calorie balance. As evident from a 2010 study, that divided 25 participants into two groups. One group was given 1g of red peppers in capsule form while the other wasn’t. The study concluded that both resting energy expenditure and core body temperature was raised in the group that consumed the red peppers. While the other group experienced no changes.
Hence proving that spicy peppers help raise your body heat — causing your body to go into cooldown mode. This in turn causes your body to burn even more calories in an effort to lower your core body temperature.
Lowers Cravings and Overall Hunger
Discipline is a must in any individual’s weight loss journey. So, I can understand how annoying it must be when you ruin all your hard work during the day to satisfy an untimely food craving.
Thankfully, cayenne peppers can be really helpful in this regard as they’ve a proven track record of temporarily curbing any cravings you might have. Again, primarily due to their high capsaicin content.
To prove capsaicin's impact in inducing satiety and curbing cravings, a study was conducted on 15 test subjects containing 8 men and 7 women. The group was subjected to 2 separate conditions for 36 hours each. During condition A, participants received 100% of their daily energy requirements. While during condition B participants received 100% of their daily energy requirements as well as 2.56 mg of capsaicin.
Satiety and fullness were measured after every hour and after every meal. The study reported that both satiety and fullness were recorded to be higher during condition B than during condition A.
For individuals looking to significantly improve their fat metabolism rate, resting energy expenditure and mood — taking a 1-1.6 gram dose of cayenne pepper daily should suffice.
Now, you must be asking why you must take such high doses of cayenne pepper daily? Well, that’s because 1 gram of the herb contains 2.5 mg of capsaicin. And as the recommended daily value of capsaicin is between 2-6 mg, the quantity of cayenne pepper you must take should exceed 1 gram.
The Problem With Consuming too Much Cayenne Pepper
Consuming high doses of cayenne pepper daily can lead to some irritating side effects, due to its high spice content. This includes burning sensations along your whole digestive tract, slightly raised temperatures and heartburn.
Another issue that might arise is figuring out how to take such a heavy dose. As most popular fat burners available today don’t provide that much Cayenne Pepper. Their usual weightage of cayenne pepper ranges around the 50 to 100 mg value.
Cayenne Pepper’s Overall Health Benefits
Cayenne peppers does a lot more than just helping you in losing weight.
For instance, one experimental study concluded that cayenne pepper had gastroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties. The researchers conducting the study gave cayenne pepper supplements to 178 participants with gastrointestinal conditions. In addition to 198 healthy participants. Both groups reported marked improvements in their gastrointestinal symptoms.
Studies conducted on rats also suggest that cayenne peppers improve vascular health. Making them beneficial for people obese individuals yet again, as they’re more prone to developing vascular issues like increased blood pressure or even diabetes.
According to the scientific literature I’ve analyzed, all signs point to cayenne pepper being quite beneficial when it comes to weight loss. Whether it's directly improving your fat metabolism rate, resting energy expenditure or lowering your cravings.
However, I would like to see a few more comprehensive studies conducted on the herb before I label it as a certified weight loss ingredient.