Need a way to turn up the heat and burn more calories? Consider adding more hot chili peppers to your diet.
University of Wyoming researchers believe that capsaicin — the fiery component that gives peppers their heat — can potentially override a high-fat diet.
As Medical Daily reports, the researchers added 0.01% of capsaicin to lab mice that were on high-fat diets, and found that the weight of the mice plateaued in those carrying the TRPV1 protein, despite the fatty diet.
The researchers believe that capsaicin converts fat-storing white cells into fat-burning brown cells through the process of thermogenics, which is what happens during exercise. Once it’s been activated, brown fat can burn up to 300 calories in 24 hours. Studies have also shown that brown fat can also help the body control blood sugar, which lowers the risk of obesity and diabetes. Not to mention its other, ancillary benefits, such as its ability to reduce to the risk of colorectal tumors, cool heartburn, and suppress the formation of ulcers.
Researchers plan to continue their research in the hopes that they can develop a weight loss supplement.
“Next, we’ll focus on our longer-term goal of developing TRPV1 agonists as new drug molecules to prevent and treat obesity,” said the researchers. “We envision a nanoparticle-based sustained-release formulation of capsaicin, which is currently under development in our laboratory. In turn, this will advance a novel dietary supplement-based approach to prevent and treat one of the life-threatening diseases, obesity and its associated complications — in humans.”
While the study suggests that a dose of capsaicin can counteract the saturated fat in a plate of buffalo wings, dieters might be more wise to spice a healthy bowl of guacamole, instead.