Can spicy foods boost your metabolism?

I have a friend who is trying to lose a couple of pounds before Spring break. We recently had dinner at my favorite Thai restaurant. She really surprised me by ordering her food spiced to 4 stars (this is my friend who thinks hummus is “too spicy”). When her food arrived, it was so spicy her eyes were tearing and her nose was running. Yes, pretty much an appetite killer for both of us. I asked her why she had ordered her food so spicy. She told me how she had read that eating spicy food can boost your metabolism and help you to jumpstart your weight loss.

Well, true, she would lose weight-mainly because her food was too spicy to eat!

The truth? Capsaicin, the compound in peppers that brought tears to my friends’ eye, can rev up your metabolism. But not by much and it’s unclear how long the results may last.  Most researchers agree that the effect of spicy food on weight loss is pretty minimal.

The real power of spicy foods is that they can act as an appetite suppressant. There are studies that have suggested this and personally, I know that when I eat a spicy meal, I naturally eat less.

Metabolism boosting tips:

  1. Start your meal with a spicy soup. This may help to curb your appetite.
  2. Eat 4-6 small meals each day instead of 3 larger meals. According to research from Illinois State, when you eat 4-6 meals per day your metabolism will stay active while your body is digesting your food.
  3. Eat a great breakfast. Eating breakfast within 45 minutes of waking up will jumpstart your metabolism. Studies show that breakfast eaters burn, on average, an extra 55,000 calories a year. That means you lose 15 pounds of fat-not bad for just eating more food…

*please note-if you are like my friend and don’t do well with spicy foods, don’t eat them. Choking down foods that don’t agree with your system is not an effective mode of weight loss.

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