When you consume more calories than your body needs, your body stores the excess calories as fat. Belly fat is not only an aesthetic problem but can increase your risk for many diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Although eating foods that increase your metabolic rate may help you lose belly fat, they are not a miracle solution.
Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, a substance that produces a "hot" sensation by binding to the heat receptors in your mucus membranes and skin. The amount of capsaicin in red peppers differs, making some peppers more "hot" than other. The habanero pepper contains the highest amount of capsaicin and can have a rating of 577,000 Scoville heat units. Although not as hot, cayenne pepper contains a significant amount of capsaicin and has a rating of 30,00 to 50,000 Scoville heat units.
Capsaicin affects your body's energy usage by increasing your body's heat production, or thermogenesis. Typically thermogenesis occurs in respond to cold, during which your body burns fat to produce heat and increase your body temperature. However, thermogenesis is also induced when capsaicin binds with the heat receptors. A study published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in 2009 found that daily consumption of capsinoids improved abdominal fat loss and fat oxidation. Since cayenne peppers contain capsaicins, they can increase fat burning and promote belly fat loss.
In addition to help burning fat as heat, eating cayenne pepper can also promote weight loss by reducing your calorie intake. Capsaicin can suppress appetite and, according to an article published in "The New York Times," eating hot sauce before a meal can decrease food consumption by 200 calories. Eating fewer calories than you burn is essential in losing weight and belly fat. Adding cayenne peppers to your diet can help reduce your total daily calorie intake.
To lose belly fat, you need to eat a diet that provides fewer calories than your body's metabolism is using. Although cayenne pepper can improve your metabolic rate, it is not a miracle food that causes weight loss on its own. Consuming a healthy diet and exercising regularly is the best way to lose belly fat. Add cayenne pepper to your diet only to help boost your metabolism and aid in your traditional weight loss efforts.
- MayoClinic.com; Belly Fat in Women: Taking and Keeping it off; April 2011
- "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition"; Effects of Novel Capsinoid Treatment on Fatness and Energy Metabolism in Humans; Snitker, et al.; 2009
- Union County College Biology Department: Red Peppers
- Chiliworld.com: Fact File - The Scoville Heat Scale
- "The New York Times"; The Claim: Spicy Foods Increase Metabolism; Anahad O'Connor; 2006