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Overweight and obesity are the fifth leading risk for global deaths, at least 2. Capsaicin, the major pungent principle of red chili pepper, is a thermogenic ingredient which stimulates energy expenditure and contains negligible amounts of energy itself. Therefore, capsaicin may be an interesting target for anti-obesity therapy. Several studies have shown that capsaicin stimulates thermogenesis by increasing the energy expenditure [2] , [3] , [4] , [5] , [6]. Furthermore, a decrease in RQ [4] and a beneficial effect of capsaicin on fat oxidation was found [2] , [3].

Capsaicin is one of the five naturally occurring capsaicinoids: capsaicin, dihydrocapsaicin, nordihydrocapsaicin, homocapsaicin and homodihydrocapsaicin. The number of Scoville heat units SHU indicates the amount of capsaicin present in the pepper.


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The Scoville scale reflects concentrations of all capsaicinoids, and also expresses the pungency of other capsaicinoids such as nordihydrocapsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin. Red chili pepper can be ingested orally or in capsule form, whereby oral exposure is relatively more effective with respect to thermogenesis [8]. One explanation for effects of capsaicin may be that it produces pain and stimulates thermogenesis caused by stimulating the Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid receptor 1 TRPV1 [7] , [9].

Another explanation may be that capsaicin causes an increase in catecholamine epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine secretion and sympathetic nervous system SNS activity and consequently, increases blood pressure [4] , [10] , [11] , [12] , [13] , [14]. Human studies have shown that capsaicin increased the diet-induced thermogenesis [3] , [4] , [10].

Whether, in negative energy balance, a reduction in energy expenditure can be prevented by consuming capsaicin, remains to be shown. Taken together, since capsaicin supplementation adds only negligible amounts of energy to food intake while it increases energy expenditure at least in energy balance, it is of importance to study whether these characteristics may be used as a concept for prevention of the yo-yo effect when entering negative energy balance.

Normally, introduction of a negative energy balance by reducing energy intake causes reduction in energy expenditure. We hypothesize that capsaicin supplementation vs. Thereby, capsaicin may increase fat oxidation relative to control. Subjects were recruited by advertisements in local newspapers and on notice boards at Maastricht University. All subjects underwent a medical screening; during this screening subjects underwent anthropometric measurements, and completed questionnaires related to health, smoking behaviour, use of medication, alcohol consumption, physical activity and eating behaviour.

Pregnant or lactating women were also excluded. Individuals with allergies for the food items used in the study were excluded from participation.

The Claim: Spicy Foods Increase Metabolism

The sample size was finalized as 14 subjects. A written informed consent was obtained from all the participants. The study had a single-blinded, randomized crossover design with four randomly sequenced experimental conditions. Subjects underwent four 36 h sessions in a respiration chamber for measurements of energy expenditure and substrate oxidation. The subjects were instructed to maintain their habitual activity level on the two days before each visit.

Subjects were asked to abstain from alcohol consumption on the two days before each visit. The four test sessions were conducted at least one week apart for male subjects and four weeks apart for female subjects to prevent possible treatment-induced effects and to take possible effects of menstrual cycle phase on energy intake and energy expenditure in women into account.

Oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production were measured in a respiration chamber [17]. The respiration chamber is a 14m 3 room, which is furnished with a bed, chair, computer, television, radio, telephone, intercom, sink and toilet. The ventilation rate was measured with a dry gas meter type 4; Schlumberger, Dordrecht, Netherlands , and concentrations of oxygen and carbon dioxide were measured with the use of an infrared carbon dioxide analyzer Uras 3G; Hartmann and Braun, Frankfurt, Germany and 2 paramagnetic oxygen analyzers: Magnos 6G; Hartmann and Braun, and type OAA; Servomex, Crowborough, United Kingdom.

During each min period, 6 samples of outgoing air for each chamber, 1 sample of fresh air, zero gas, and calibration gas were measured.

​How Spicy Foods Can Help You Burn an Extra 116 Calories a Day

The gas samples to be measured were selected by a computer that also stored and processed the data. REE was calculated by plotting energy expenditure against radar output, that are both averaged over min periods. Carbohydrate, fat, and protein oxidation were calculated from the measurements of oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide production, and urinary nitrogen excretion by using the formula of Carpenter in Brouwer et al [18]. Samples, 3 per 36 hrs, in order to determine substrate oxidation were collected in containers with 10 ml HCl to prevent nitrogen loss through evaporation.

Urinary nitrogen was collected to calculate the RQ and protein balance correctly. Blood pressure BP was measured 15 minutes before each meal; these measurements were taken in sitting position and were made before the meal to avoid variability due to recent within 2—3 h food intake [19]. Subjects were instructed to perform triplicate measurements 15 minutes before breakfast, lunch and dinner and were asked to record the mean of these three measurements.

Body weight was measured using a digital balance and height was measured using a wall-mounted stadiometer. BMI was calculated as body weight kg divided by height m squared. The deuterium dilution method according to the Maastricht protocol [20] was used to measure total body water TBW. The subjects were asked to collect a urine sample in the evening just before drinking a deuterium-enriched water solution.

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After ingestion of this solution, the subject went to bed and no additional consumption was allowed for this period of time. Ten hours after drinking the water solution, another urine sample was collected.

Acute Effects of Capsaicin on Energy Expenditure and Fat Oxidation in Negative Energy Balance

The dilution of the deuterium isotope is a measure of the TBW of the subject. Additionally, FM was determined by Bodpod [21] measurements. Waist and hip circumference were determined in standing position by a tape measure. Waist circumference was measured at the smallest circumference between rib cage and iliac crest, and hip circumference at the level of the spina iliaca anterior superior.

What is Capsiplex?

Accordingly, waist-to-hip ratio WHR was calculated by dividing waist by hip circumference. Both waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio were used to define different patterns of body fat distribution. Subjects were fed in energy balance during two days before the test sessions. Subject specific daily energy requirements were calculated based on basal metabolic rate BMR , which was individually calculated with the equation of Harris-Benedict [22] , and multiplied by a physical activity level PAL of 1.

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This PAL value of 1. In our population in the south of the Netherlands the PAL value of 1. The energy intake level was estimated as such that subjects were not in a positive or a negative energy balance before they entered the respiratory chamber. In the respiration chamber energy requirements were calculated based on a PAL of 1. Subjects had to completely finish all drinks and meals within 30 minutes.

With respect to the daily dose for capsaicin, the daily value has not been established. Fiber is another part of eating that will help you feel fuller for longer. Mustard is lovely in cream sauces and can act as a secret ingredient in your favorite omelette recipe. Turmeric helps with weight loss with a metabolic boost, too! This particular spice is thought to give your metabolism a huge boost for short periods after you eat it, but it is also known to help prevent weight gain once weight has been lost.

Turmeric helps prevent fat re-growth by inhibiting the expansion and growth of fat tissue. Turmeric is kind of earthy, so it tastes nice with rice and spinach.

Ginger has been shown to settle the stomach, decrease appetite, and increase the metabolism. It is also good for digestion and in many cultures is used as a remedy for indigestion. Ginger is perfect for root vegetables like carrots. Squashes are enhanced with the flavor of this spice. It stimulates insulin activity and helps in digestion.

It is also believed to help increase energy levels and get the digestion system moving. Cinnamon is commonly known for its uses in baked goods, but it is tasty on pork and in the traditional Vietnamese soup, pho. As you have probably already noticed, there are several different spices that help with speeding up your metabolism. Even the simplest dish of rice can be spiced up, figuratively and literally, with just a dash or two of different spices! No one can promise you instant weight loss, and consuming more spices is not a magic trick that will melt the fat off your body.

The best way to lose weight is to eat a healthy, balanced diet that is good for your body and your own personal needs. If you are able, start exercising!