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Does Spicy Food Burn Fat? (From A Dietitian)

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: August 10, 2022

I’m a big fan of spicy food from around the world, and the most interesting thing about it isn’t just the flavor.

My dietitian had told me years ago that spicy food has an impact on your metabolism, but there’s a bit more involved than adding a bit of hot sauce to your rye bread sandwich.

So, I got together with our nutritionist to discuss a few impactful studies on this matter and find out how eating spicy stuff could actually help you lose weight.

Here’s what my research has revealed.

Quick Summary

  • Spicy foods are full of a substance called capsaicin, which can trigger your body to send signals to your metabolism.
  • With the right amount, type, and timing of spicy foods, this capsaicin can help you lose weight.
  • Along with burning more energy through a boosted metabolism, you also gain several other health benefits.

How Does Eating Spicy Foods Impact Your Body?

Spicy food on table

Research shows that eating spicy foods will trigger a thermogenic effect [1]. What this does is slightly raise your core body temperature by burning more calories. And those calories come from stored body fat.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you can simply add chilies to your burger, pizza, and other junk food to make up for poor diet choices.

But when you burn calories through a boosted metabolism, and you generally eat a healthy diet, then you can get to your weight loss goals a lot faster.

That fat burn effect is triggered through a substance called capsaicin, which you’ll find in higher concentrations in hot and spicy ingredients [2].

What it does is send signals to your brain to boost fat metabolism to release more energy.

“Capsaicin is one of many alkaloids that is referred to as a Capsaicinoid, which are commonly associated with chili products of the family solanaceae (subfamily capsicum).”

- Kamal Patel, Editor and co-founder of examine.com. 

And it can be surprisingly easy for you to regularly add more of this kind of metabolism booster to your meal plans.

Examples Of Spicy Food To Add To Your Diet

Spicy avocado on toast with Cumen Rice

Adding spicy foods to your diet is surprisingly easy, and you won’t even have to resort to eating raw chilis to lose weight.

Let me show you some of my favorite examples.

Breakfast: Spicy Avocado Toast

Here’s a simple breakfast that burns calories to start your weight loss early in the day. Get some whole grain bread and a free-range fried egg. Then add some slices of avocado and chili flakes on top.

Lunch: Cumin Rice

You can pick any kind of lunch and then simply add some cumin rice as a side. Ideally, buy some yellow jasmine rice as the base. For one cup of rice, add two teaspoons of cumin seeds.

Then add a tablespoon of butter and an optional chopped garlic clove. Boil it all for about 30 minutes and make sure there’s a slight bite in the rice and it’s not soggy.

Related ArticleWhat to Eat for Lunch to Lose Weight Fast?

Dinner: Jalapeno Chicken

Spicy Jalapeno Chicken close up image

Dice up some chicken and fry it in a pan. Then add a simple tomato-based sauce and turn down the heat.

Next, chop up some garlic and hot peppers. If you don’t like things too spicy, then you can also choose something other than jalapenos or consider removing the seeds.

Add everything into the mix and let it simmer away for 20 minutes for the flavors to blend.

Refreshing Drink

I also like to create lemon, turmeric, and ginger iced tea. Boil up some water and add a tea bag to a small jug.

Leave the tea bag in the water for about 5 minutes, and then squeeze it out. Add a few slices of fresh ginger and squeeze half a lemon in as well. 

Finally, add half a teaspoon of turmeric powder and let it all blend in.

Other Health Benefits

A spicy eggplant

Eating spicy food can help you lose fat, but there are also other benefits beyond dealing with obesity or a cutting phase.

Scientists have also found that curcumin in turmeric and other spices can also help with inflammation [3].

These tests were conducted on people with arthritis but can also help with other forms of joint inflammation.

Another study found that cumin can have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties that will promote better gut health [4].

And an even more interesting UCLA study found that having spicy food once a day could increase your life expectancy by up to 14% [5].

All these benefits of eating spicy food add up to better general health.

FAQs

Can You Eat Spicy Food Every Day For Weight Loss?

Yes, you can eat spicy foods every day to boost your metabolism for weight loss. Standard diets in many countries around the world are heavily based on spices, and all it takes is getting used to the new flavors.

Are Hot Chilis Good For Losing Weight?

Yes, hot chilis are good for losing weight. You can adjust how much of them you use, but if you can deal with the burning sensation in your mouth, then you’ll make a big difference in your weight loss.

Do You Boost Your Metabolism With Spicy Foods?

Even if you can add some additional spices to one meal a day, it will help you lose weight a lot more effectively. You still need to make sure that the rest of the meal is healthy and not packed full of junk.

And if you want to take things one step further to avoid the yo-yo effect of weight gain and loss, then consider adding either of the following fat burners:

They can naturally boost your metabolism throughout the day to make shedding white and brown fat significantly easier.


References:

  1. https://www.healthshots.com/healthy-eating/nutrition/eating-spicy-foods-can-help-you-lose-weight-here-is-how/
  2. https://www.uspharmacist.com/article/capsaicin-risks-and-benefits
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3400101/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20492235/
  5. https://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h3942

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