Turns out the burning sensation you get from chili peppers isn’t just for your taste buds. Capsaicin—the culprit in chili peppers that brings the heat—has been touted as a metabolism booster for years now, with studies to back it up. One interesting paper published by online journal PLOS ONE in 2013 even pinpointed an ideal amount: 2.56 milligrams per meal for those on low-calorie diets. What they found was that approximately a quarter teaspoon of capsaicin, equivalent to 39,050 Scoville heat units, per meal helped somewhat offset the typical energy expenditure decrease that occurs when we’re in lower-calorie mode. The capsaicin also prompted more fat oxidation compared to those who didn’t sprinkle on the hot stuff. While this study isn’t conclusive evidence in favor of chili pepper and fat loss, it can’t hurt to add some to your meals, especially if you’re on an especially restrictive shredding-mode diet.
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