Friday, February 14, 2014
So, while I could not care less about cranberry ketones, green tea and other nonsense peddled by prominent pseudo-health show hosts, reports on the weight loss effects of capsaicin (the hot stuff in hot stuff) always catch my attention.
So did the recent systematic review and meta-analysis of this topic by Stephen Whiting and colleagues published in APPETITE.
Here’s what they found:
1. ingestion of capsaicin prior to a meal can reduce subsequent caloric intake by about 75 calories.
2. Reduced caloric intake appears largely due to an altered preference for carbohydrate-rich foods over foods with a higher fat content.
3. A minimum dose of 2 mg of capsaicinoids may be required for this effect
4. The science on whether or not any of this is relevant to weight management is rather “iffy” (to be polite).
As much as I would love for habanero peppers to be the next miraculous super food, I am not convinced that this is the case.
For one, as regular readers should realise by now, eating less at one meal will only lead to eating more at the next (thanks to our super-efficient homeostatic system that immediately steps in to rectify any changes in caloric balance).
Thus, sadly, acute studies on what substance X, Y or Z may or may not do to appetite (or metabolism, or anything else) are largely meaningless when it comes to predicting their long-term effect on body weight (the longest study on chilli ingestion lasted just 4 weeks).
This is why I also fail to share the author’s enthusiasm that,
“..daily consumption of capsaicinoids may contribute to weight management through reductions in energy intake. Subsequently, there may be potential for capsaicinoids to be used as long-term, natural weight-loss aids.”
Will this stop anyone from proclaiming hot sauce as the next weight-loss elixir – probably not.
On the other hand, should future studies prove me wrong, I promise to eat this post (pass the hot sauce!).
Whiting S, Derbyshire EJ, & Tiwari B (2014). Could capsaicinoids help to support weight management? A systematic review and meta-analysis of energy intake data. Appetite, 73, 183-8 PMID: 24246368