Could Chile Peppers Be the Hottest New Thing in Weight Loss?

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A new Arizona State University research study has shown that chile peppers may be a key ingredient to melting the pounds away and reducing one’s appetite. The ASU research team, led by scientists Yue Deng and Fang Chen at the Biodesign Institute, has shown the first promising links between capsaicinoids (the active ingredient that gives chile peppers their heat) and an individual’s energy-burning ability.
To measure the resting energy expenditure (REE), researchers took advantage of an ASU Biodesign spinout technology that has been on the market since 2015, called Breezing. Breezing is the first handheld calorie-measuring device that measures human breath (oxygen consumption rate and carbon dioxide production rate). It can connect wirelessly to a smart device via Bluetooth and display results through an easy-to-use mobile app.
Participants were given a customized bagel and cream cheese meal that was adjusted to a portion of calories set to their REE value (either 0.35 portion or 0.25 portion) along with the capsaicinoid supplement. Next, their REE was measured at one, two and three hours after eating. All participants were required to fast for at least four hours prior to the test, and they were restricted from any strenuous or moderate exercise for at least 12 hours before the test.
For the people who took the capsaicinoid supplements, their energy expenditure showed an average predicted change of 130 kcal/day, while the people from the control group only reflected an average energy burn of 8 kcal/day.
For the calorie counters among us, that 122 kcal/day difference is like burning off an extra can of soda every day (150 kcal), or a medium latte, or an ounce of potato chips. The key point, caution the researchers, is that the capsaicinoid supplements alone do not act as magic bullets. Rather, they should be considered as part of a holistic weight management strategy that includes diet, physical activity or exercise, and taking into account one’s unique physiology and genetics. They were are also excited to further validate the Breezing device’s potential as an affordable personal metabolic tracker and weight-management tool.