Black Pepper: Diet Weapon?

Black pepper
The same ingredient in black pepper that adds taste to your meals may also help keep you slim.

New research, which identifies the flavor compound piperine as black pepper’s secret fat-fighting weapon, concludes that pepper works by blocking the formation of new fat cells in the body. Other foods, such as the compound piceatannolthat is found in red wine, peanuts, and grapes, have also been recently found to have the same effect.

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Prior to this study, little was known about how piperine works to control fat cells, researchers wrote in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a journal published by the American Chemical Society (ACS). Piperine works to fight fat by interfering with adipogenesis, or the gene activity that causes fat cells to form and mature, researchers found. In doing so, the compound may also set off a chain reaction that helps control fat in other ways, the researchers said in an ACS release.

It takes immature fat cells, called preadipocytes, about 10 days to go through adipogenesis. Once the process is complete, fat cells are significantly more difficult to shrink through a healthy diet and fat-burning exercise.