Can Spicy Foods Really Help You Lose Weight?

    A woman holding a spicy pepperHot peppers get their well-known spicy kick from an ingredient called capsaicin, a compound found in habaneros, cayenne and most other chili peppers. Spicy foods’ reputation for weight loss and metabolism boosting is very popular …but is it true?

    True or false: eating spicy foods will help you lose weight.

    False. Sort of. Spicy foods will not significantly increase a person’s metabolism or help them burn significant calories. Your metabolic rate is determined by your gender, height, present weight/body composition, and age.

    If you’ve ever broken out into a sweat while munching on Buffalo wings or downing a bowl of spicy chili, you have experienced one of the long-rumored effects of capsaicin – it generates body heat. This process, called thermogenesis, does burn calories.

    However, this effect is modest and temporary, only lasting for a couple of hours. As soon as your body’s reaction to the spicy food is finished and returns to a normal temperature, your metabolism will go back to functioning at the rate it did before you ate the spicy food.

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