If you like spicy food, and especially if you don’t, listen up. Adding ground cayenne red pepper to your food could help burn more calories, according to a new study in Physiology & Behavior. Curiously, the calorie burn was higher in individuals tested who did not normally eat red pepper, suggesting that the stimulus is heightened when cayenne is an unfamiliar substance.
Consuming the red pepper, which contains capsaicin like most chili peppers, also helped curb appetite. The participants who weren’t regular red pepper consumers experienced less hunger and even fewer cravings for fatty, salty and sweet foods. If cayenne pepper can erase my cravings for French fries, I’ll eat it by the spoonful.
And, the good news? According to the study, that’s all you need. Participants used only half a teaspoon of the stuff on their meals and still felt an increase in body heat, which helped burn more calories in both regular cayenne consumers and non-consumers. So the only question remaining is: Can you handle the heat?
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