Red Pepper May Reduce Appetite, Researchers Say
Red pepper has been found to possibly reduce people's appetite, with about one-half teaspoon of dried, ground cayenne red pepper apparently doing the trick.
This is especially so for those who don't normally eat it, U.S. researchers suggest.
The six-week study involved 25 healthy weight people -- 13 who liked spicy food and 12 who did not.
The preferred level of pepper for each group was determined in advance.
Those who did not like red pepper preferred 0.3 grams compared with regular spice users who preferred 1.8 grams. One gram is one-half teaspoon.
Researchers Richard Mattes, an eminent professor of foods and nutrition at Purdue University, and doctoral student Mary-Jon Ludy said there were other corroborative studies.
They said other studies found capsaicin – which is what gives chili peppers their heat -- can reduce hunger and increase the burning of calories.
But they added that the amounts they tested were not realistic for most U.S. adults.
Mattes said that, generally, red pepper consumption did increase core body temperature and burn more calories through natural energy expenditure.
The study found that those who did not consume red pepper regularly experienced a decrease in hunger - especially for fatty, salty and sweet foods.
"Once it becomes familiar to people, it loses its efficacy," Mattes explained in a statement.
"The finding that there is a difference between users and non-users is novel and requires further study to determine how long it will be effective," he continued.
Professor Mattes added that further analysis will also determine "how to adjust the diet to improve continuous effectiveness."
The results of the study are published in Physiology & Behavior.