Chillies are known to have some weight loss properties. It’s not that they’re a miracle thin food, just that the capsaicin in them helps burn a tiny bit of fat.
But now, Indian scientists may have discovered a way to magnify this property of the humble chilli.
Capsaicin is the active component in a chilli that gives it its spice.
Now, there hasn’t been a lot of study of its effects on weight loss, particularly because it’s not always possible to prescribe certain doses of it to patients of diverse ages and races.
But a 2014 study of other trials did find weak evidence suggesting that capsaicin can help weight loss.
Essentially, eating enough of it before a meal partly kills your appetite, and might before a meal might slightly reduce the amount of food that people eat.
Because of the spice involved with eating chillies, your body tries to protect itself by secreting the obestatin hormone, effectively the chemical “stop eating” signal for your body. Ideally, that would slow your caloric intake.
Additionally, researchers at the CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) found that capsaicin doesn’t just increase the effect of obestatin.
Apparently, it may also increase the secretion of catecholamines, which helps brown white adipose tissue. In layman’s terms, it encourages the body chemistry related to fat-burning. On top of that, the team also observed that capsaicin increases the production of lipases, enzymes that help the body digest fat
“In all the experiments, the ability of both capsaicin and genistein (a similar active ingredient in soy) to increase the production of hormone sensitive lipase, lipoprotein lipase and the upregulation of the PPAR-gamma receptor were seen. This means effect of both additives is beneficial.
But when capsaicin or genistein were added along with obestatin, the amount of triglycerides produced in the cells were 20-25 percent lower than when obestatin alone is used,” explained Dr Uma V Manjappara, the lead scientist on the team.
The researchers are still unsure why this interaction takes place the way it does, but it does hold some promise for research into obesity treatment. And who knows, maybe the secret to getting fit was in your kitchen cupboard all along.
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