Are hot sauce and spicy foods really fat burners?

…and a few more References

Dr. Halls

Capsaicin is the main, active compound found in hot peppers that gives you that distinctive burning sensation when eaten.

Spices that are high in Capsaicin are chilli peppers, jalapenos, habaneros and cayenne pepper.

A 2012 medical study on the consumption of chilli peppers has collected data that shows the benefits of hot red peppers in weight management. In this research, participants consumed 1 to 3.5 grams of red pepper and this enhanced heat production (thermogenesis) and increased fat oxidation (fat burning).

Another study examined capsaicin in relation to weight maintenance after a percentage body weight loss of 5 % to 10 %.  91 overweight volunteers underwent a 3 month weight maintenance program. The group was divided into two groups, one group took Capsaicin (135 mg) and the other group a placebo. This study also concluded that capsaicin treatment caused more fat oxidation (burning of fat) during weight maintenance. Avoid capsaicin supplements however.

Talking Moose

Talking Moose

I spilt curry in my lap. What did I get? Hot pants!

Both Turmeric and Capsaicin  possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents.  They have been said to help prevent several health disorders as well as clearing the nasal passages, such as:-

  • Myocardial Infarction (heart attack) (heart attack)
  • Chronic lung diseases caused by inflammation
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Pancreatitis
  • Chronic pain
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Colitis
  • Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Hepatic problems
  • Muscle injuries
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Tumor Suppressor for some cancers:  One 2010 study suggests that Capsaicin suppresses the growth of cancer cells in prostrate cancer.   Another piece of research suggests that Capsaicin had properties that targeted and destroyed diseased cells in small cell lung cancer
  • Improves mood:   Feeling good may help with making the right dietary choices.  Capsaicin triggers the release of endorphins, which are not only a natural pain killers, but can enhance mood too.
Talking Moose

Talking Moose

Sorry Doc, I had to skip that bit. Cardamon me but I was in a curry.


So much pun peppered over all this post.

Talking Moose

Talking Moose

I know I’m a seasoned punner!

There is an assortment of spice choices containing capsaicin that can help you along with your weight loss plan.  There are black peppers, fresh peppers, jalapenos, sweet paprika, tabasco peppers and dried chilli powders too. All these hot spices are readily accessible and keep for long periods of time.


Adding a tiny amount of chilli to your food can help increase your tolerance to hot spice and help you gradually build up to more therapeutic doses.

If you are cooking for a lot of people, or for children, you can place fresh, sliced chillies as a side dish and let people help themselves according to their own taste preference.

If you really do not like spicy food all is not lost for your weight loss plan.

You can always try adding ginger to your cup of tea or mild curry powder to a quinoa recipe, or a little cumin to your next stir fry. There are a number of great capsaicin rich weight  loss recipes that you can try .

Adding a little bit of spice to your meal may improve the flavorand cause you to eat less and you will lose quite a bit of weight.

Talking Moose

Talking Moose

Live life with a little Spice.

Dr. Halls

Good Question and here are three other foods that have been scientifically proven to aid weight loss:-

Ginseng: Also noted for its energy boosting qualities and is known to speed up metabolism too. A study using panax ginseng in animals showed an improvement in insulin sensitivity and significant weight loss too.

Cinnamon: This tasty spice can be used in sweet and savoury dishes and also boasts the ability to boost your metabolism.  In addition cinnamona helps with blood sugar regulation and lowers cholesterol too. This makes it a particularly beneficial dietary addition for those with diabetes.

Mustard:  This good old staple food adds a little kick to your cold meats and roast dinners. Kirschmann in his book, ‘Nutrition Almanac’ has shown that mustard seeds also boost your metabolic rate by 25 %. Adding less than one teaspoon of mustard to your meal can result in 45 extra calories being burnt per hour.

Talking Moose
A soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
  • Mansour, MS, Ni YM, Roberts AL, Kelleman M, (et al.) (2012) Ginger consumption enhances the thermic effect of food and promotes feelings of satiety without affecting metabolic and hormonal parameters in overweight men: A pilot study Metabolism. 2012 Oct; 61(10): 1347–1352 (Retrieved January 22nd 2016)
  • Reinbach HC, Smeets A, Martinussen T, Møller P, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. (2009) Effects of capsaicin, green tea and CH-19 sweet pepper on appetite and energy intake in humans in negative and positive energy balance. Clin Nutr. 2009 Jun;28(3):260-5 (Retrieved January 21st 2016)
  • Lv J, Qi L, Yu C, Yang L, Guo Y, Chen Y, Bian Z, Sun D, Du J, Ge P, Tang Z, Hou W, Li Y, Chen J, Chen Z, Li L; China Kadoorie Biobank Collaborative Group. (2015) Consumption of spicy foods and total and cause specific mortality: population based cohort study. BMJ. 2015 Aug 4;351:h3942 (Retrieved January 21st 2016)
  • Vasanthi HR, Parameswari PR (2010) Indian Spices for Healthy Heart – An Overview BMJ. 2015 Aug 4;351:h3942 (Retrieved January 25th 2016)
  • Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Smeets A, Lejeune MP. (2005) Sensory and gastrointestinal satiety effects of capsaicin on food intake.Int J Obes (Lond). 2005 Jun;29(6):682-8.(Retrieved January 25th 2016)
  • Whiting S, Derbyshire E, Tiwari BK.(2012) Capsaicinoids and capsinoids. A potential role for weight management? A systematic review of the evidence. Appetite. 2012 Oct;59(2):341-8. (Retrieved January 25th 2016)
  • Yoshioka M, St-Pierre S, Drapeau V, Dionne I, Doucet E, Suzuki M, Tremblay A.(1989) Effects of red pepper on appetite and energy intake. Br J Nutr. 1999 Aug;82(2):115-23. (Retrieved January 25th 2016)


As we get older, our BMR tends to reduce. This is thought to be due to the loss of muscle which is often seen in ageing.

Do spicy foods burn fat?

The promise is appealing: Can the heat within spicy foods actually melt your body fat and unearth your chiseled six-pack?

As a dietitian, this promise pops up every now and then with a new study touting the fat-loss benefits of hot peppers or with a new supplement marketing the belly-shrinking benefits of “capsaicin.”


Men’s Health

The connection sort of makes sense: when you eat hot foods you sweat, which is also what happens when you exercise so … maybe there’s a similar effect occurring in your body?

Sort of. So that word, “capsaicin,” refers to a compound that gives spicy peppers their heat. (It’s also what makes pepper spray so awesome or awful, depending on which side of the spray you’re on.)

Research shows that consuming capsaicin, usually in concentrated pill form, can increase a person’s metabolic rate. That said, the calories people burn from this increase often only amount to about 50 to 70 extra calories a day, and that that effect only occurred in people with a BMI of 25 or higher, according to a 2018 meta-analysis by Hungarian researchers.

To give you an idea, that’s the caloric equivalent of a large bite of pizza.

Now some supplements will tell you that capsaicin can help you lose weight by “activating” your brown fat (the stuff that keeps you warm and burns calories) and improve your insulin control. And others still will tell you capsaicin may help reign in your appetite.


Getty Images

But here’s the big picture: «Capsaicin isn’t a therapy I recommend to my patients for weight loss,” says Dr. Spencer Nadolsky, head physician at There may indeed be an effect, but it is too small to justify spending time and money and worrying about taking another pill.”

And there’s a downside to capsaicin supplementation. Too much can cause stomach cramps and ulcers, as well as general gastric irritation and a burning sensation. This happens when you’re consuming spicy foods, but also when you’re, ahem, removing spicy foods from your body if you’re picking up what I’m putting down.

All this said, there’s nothing wrong with hot sauce. It contains very few calories for tons of flavor. If you tolerate the stuff, go ahead and smother your eggs in Cholula. Just don’t expect that doing so will also make you look hot.

Chris Mohr, PhD, RDChris Mohr, PhD, RD is the co-owner of Mohr Results, Inc ( a well-being consulting company

Different chili peppers have varying heat levels because of their capsaicin content. The hotter the chili pepper, the hotter the final hot sauce. Basic hot sauces, such those made with crushed red peppers, add heat with only a slight pepper flavor, while other peppers, such as ancho chili peppers, will add sweetness and smokiness but only a little bit of heat. You can use hot sauce as a marinade for meats in place of other ingredients, such as oil or butter, and you can even use it with scrambled eggs, adding richness and flavor with almost no fat. In other cases, consider adding hot sauce …

The enjoyment that spice lovers get from the burning mouth, tongue and taste buds, watering eyes and sweating may be more than just a love of pain. Read on to find out the many health benefits associated with eating spicy dishes.

spicy benefits loss plan weight

On a general level, a huge study published in 2015, on almost 500,000 people in China claims that regularly eating spicy food reduced the risk of death by 14 % independent of other health factors.

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