Hot peppers allow you to kick up the intensity of a variety of dishes -- from soups to sauces and even to desserts such as brownies. Some people aim to include more hot peppers in their diets in an effort to lose weight, but doing so isn't likely to help you melt the pounds away. The metabolic benefit of eating hot peppers is minimal.
Metabolism Plays a Role
People who wish to lose weight are often on a quest to find ways to boost their basal metabolic rates. As this rate increases, so does your ability to burn calories to slowly burn your body fat. The BMR increase from hot peppers isn't enough to help you lose weight. A healthier approach is finding time for strength-training exercises, as muscle is more metabolically active than body fat. By increasing your body's muscle mass, you can elevate your metabolic rate.
Not a Practical Method
While it's true that the consumption of hot peppers -- and more specifically, their active ingredient, capsaicin -- can lead to a spike in your BMR, the increase is only minimal. Capsaicin can temporarily increase your BMR by as much as 20 percent, according to nutritionist Dr. Delrae Messer in an ABC Action News article. Hot peppers can also help you feel more full, which lessens your chances of overeating.
Don't Take Peppers Lightly
The side effects of eating an excessive amount of hot peppers can often exceed the benefits. Although some people can eat hot peppers with ease, others will experience pain around their lips, mouth and even in their digestive systems in the form of stomach ulcers and bowel complications. Handling hot peppers can also lead to burns and irritation on your skin -- and getting pepper juice in your eyes can also be painful.
Benefits of Hot Peppers
Even if hot peppers aren't a valuable ally in your weight-loss mission, don't shrug them off just yet. The capsaicin in hot peppers may help you feel full, and when you feel full, you're less likely to overeat; however, more studies are needed to determine if capsaicin is actually responsible for suppressing appetites, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center website. The capsaicin in hot peppers also has a wide range of medical uses. Capsaicin cream can reduce the symptoms of arthritis and fibromyalgia -- and can even provide relief from skin issues such as psoriasis.