Hot Chili Peppers Motivate Mice to Burn Fat
Looking for a diet that will help you burn fat? Consider the chili. Because capsaicin, the chemical compound that gives chili peppers their kick, appears to prevents weight gain in mice that are fed a high-fat diet. The finding was presented at the Biophysical Society’s annual meeting in Baltimore. [Vivek Krishnan, Kevin Fettel and Baskaran Thyagarajan, Dietary capsaicin and exercise: analysis of a two-pronged approach to counteract obesity]
Obesity is caused by an energy imbalance: more calories go in than go out. So, conventional wisdom has it, to tip the scales the other way, you could eat less. Or move more. But maybe there’s a third option.
Researchers treated mice to a diet high in fats. But some rats also got a pinch of capsaicin. After 25 weeks, the mice with added spice gained less weight than those on fat alone, even though they ate and drank the same amount. Seems the mice that got the caliente treatment were more likely to get off their rodent rears: they naturally spent more time exercising than their fat-fed counterparts.
But before you stock up on chili-flavored Cheetos, keep in mind that mice that ate a well-balanced diet in the first place were the most active and sleek. So feel free to use your Sriracha. But maybe skip the chips.