Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Does spicy food increase your metabolism?

Have you ever heard of this claim? I honestly haven't heard of it until recently. I also recently started craving spicy food for the past couple of months (no, not pregnant :P). So now I have a newfound love for spicy food flavors, especially kimchi! Yum. Nong Shim Kimchi flavor saimin is my weakness right now:

So I was wondering, does this claim have any evidence behind it? If so, I would gladly eat spicy food ALL THE TIME... :P But here is what I found out:
  • Over the years, various studies have examined the claim and suggested that certain spices can in fact increase metabolic rate by raising body temperature, though to what extent and for how long is unclear. 
  • Capsaicin is the primary molecule responsible for the hot, burning sensation you get when you come into contact with spicy chilies. It is a member of a family of compounds called capsaicinoids, which have many beneficial effects including analgesia (pain relief), antioxidant potential and thermogenesis (calorie burning).
  • Studies have shown that on average a meal containing a spicy dish can temporarily increase metabolism by about 8 percent over a person’s normal rate, an amount considered fairly negligible
  • But besides a slight uptick in metabolism, spicy foods may also increase feelings of satiety. The researchers suggested that capsaicin may work as an appetite suppressant.
  • In sum, while humans may get a modest boost in calorie burning immediately after a spicy meal, the effect is unlikely to be meaningful for long-term weight loss.

So overall, spicy foods MAY have some effect on metabolism, but not a significant amount. It MAY help you eat less because it makes you feel fuller faster. Either way, I'll continue eating spicy food just 'cause I love it! Even a fairly negligible boost in metabolism is still something too ;P

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