We’re always trying to find new and efficient ways to lose weight, and while some might turn out to be a bust in the end, not all of them are like that.
There’s a couple new trending weight-loss ingredients people have been raving about: black pepper extract and cayenne pepper extract. That’s right, two of the most commonly used spices might just be an aid to trimming off the fat. Is it all it’s hyped up to be? What are the facts? Are our foods about to get seasoned to the moon and back? Well, just read the facts and conclude for yourself!
Black pepper, probably the second most commonly used seasoning other than salt.
Alongside giving our food a bit of an extra kick, black pepper is host to all sorts of good things for our body. Not only is it packed full of dietary fibers, healthy fats, calcium, sodium, and potassium, it also contains Vitamins A, C, and K. It’s a superfood you sprinkle on your soup and season your sauces with. Oh, and should I mention that it also fights infections, helps to absorb nutrients in your body, and strengthens your immunity?
Even if black pepper didn’t help you lose weight, it’s still a great addition to your food for your health in general. Of course, I haven’t even gone over the weight loss aid factor of black pepper, which as it turns out, is a legitimate claim with a scientific basis behind it.
The seasoning can indeed help with weight loss and metabolism. It’s actually a common factor with all spicy foods, believe it or not, and for more reasons than one. For one, it’s believed that spicy foods help give you a feeling of fullness with each meal, meaning you eat less and still feel satiated. Not to mention, they’ve also been proven to really kick your metabolism into shape, and it’s all because of the thermogenic effect.
Thermogenic effect is also referred to as dietary induced thermogenesis and thermic effect of food (DIT and TEF respectively). It’s essentially an increase in your metabolic rate at which your body is burning its calories after a meal. For the most part, dietitians believe that it’s this effect that allows spicy food to help speed up weight loss.
While we’ve just gone over how spicy foods in general can help you lose weight, black pepper itself also has a few tricks up its sleeve to speed things along even faster.
Black pepper contains a compound known as piperine. Piperine has been proven to keep down the accumulation of fat in one’s body, alongside enhancing the metabolic rate. To top it all off, the outer layer of black peppercorn (the dried berry that ground pepper comes from) contains something called phytonutrients, which break down your fat cells and, you guessed it, boosts your metabolism.
How Do You Take Your Black Pepper?
So now you know that black pepper is the way to go. So, now you just have to consume it. If you cook food often, you might already use it regularly, either to season the food while it’s cooking or to top off your plate. If you aren’t one to use pepper, well you don’t have to dry rub every piece of meat with black pepper. A pinch or two will work just fine depending on the batch size. You don’t want to sacrifice your taste buds for weight loss do you? Actually, don’t answer that.
For those serious about weight loss, you can also consume black pepper directly for a stronger effect. The most basic method is to dilute whole black peppercorns water, making black pepper oil. If you’re more of a tea person, ½-1 teaspoon of ground pepper to your tea should do the trick. However, if you think your tastebuds can handle it, you can always pop one or two whole peppercorns in your mouth and chew on them. Whichever way you take it, remember to balance in healthy eating to help your body slim down faster.
So, we’ve covered black pepper, but what about cayenne? If you were paying attention to my explanation of how spicy foods can get your fat slimming down, then you might already know the answer. This is especially true since cayenne is quite a bit hotter than black pepper.
So while cayenne pepper may not have the soaring amounts of benefits that black pepper boasts, it has its own list of benefits. It’s believed that consuming cayenne can be beneficial for your overall health, as there have been studies that suggested that it can inhibit the growth of ulcers, provide positive effects to one’s cardiovascular system, reduce risks of strokes and heart attacks, and may also contain gastroprotective properties. And, of course, it’s believed to be a great weight loss aid. While black pepper has piperine, cayenne has capsaicin, and if you’re a fan of spicy foods, I’m sure you’re more than familiar with the term. The two compounds are extremely similar, allowing them to have matching effects on the human body.
Capsaicin is believed to cause the thermogenic effect that assists people in burning fat, losing calories, and propping up their metabolism. According to a 2011 study sourced from PubMed Central, the data seemed to suggest that those who were not a fan of spicy foods had greater success in weight loss after they started taking capsules of cayenne pepper extract.
The one problem is tolerance. It’s believed that after a time, not only does your tongue grow tolerant to the amount of scovilles attacking its surface, but so does your entire body. So as one continues to consume spicy foods and take greater amounts of cayenne pepper, their weight loss results may slow down considerably. It’s not 100% proven, but it certainly is something to keep in mind. Moderation is key, after all.
Like I said with black pepper, even if you don’t see any effects when it comes to weight loss with cayenne pepper, I still suggest using it in your food here and there purely for the health benefits. And because it’s tasty, of course.
How Do You Take Your Cayenne Pepper?
Well, now that you know the benefits of cayenne pepper, how should you consume it? For one, you can use fresh cayenne peppers or just cayenne powder in your cooking. It wouldn’t be easy to do every single day, mind you, lest your food get a bit samey after some time.
If you like a kick in your non-savory foods, you can add cayenne powder to things such as smoothies, protein shakes, and even glasses of water. I suggest just one teaspoon of powdered cayenne per glass of water to get the effects, but it’s ultimately up to your taste buds.
If you’re not into spicy foods, there’s an easy workaround. Try adding cayenne to flavorful foods, that way the flavor can overtake the spice and be so much more tolerable. Another way is to incorporate dairy or olive oil into your food as well. You know how they say that you should drink milk to negate the effects of spicy foods? That’s because capsaicin is fat soluble, and if your dairy has fat or you have olive oil (which is straight up pure fat), you can get all the flavor without the spicy effects.
Not everyone can eat cayenne pepper, though, so do start off with small doses if you’re not familiar with it just to see how your body reacts. It’s also suggested that you not take cayenne pepper supplements if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, taking medication for high blood pressure or to slow blood clotting, have a surgery that’s coming up within the next few days, or are taking theophylline (Theochron, Uniphyl). If you have concerns, I would strongly advise you seek the advice of a healthcare professional or dietitian.
The Problem With Using Black Pepper and Cayenne Pepper For Weight Loss
The problem with the concept of using black pepper and cayenne pepper to lose weight, is that it’s very hard, almost impossible, to get both ingredients in your system with the same dosage used in clinical trials that showed positive results.
Therefore the use of a supplement that contains both ingredients in sufficient amounts is necessary in this case.
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Managing Editor, With a background in health, holistic nutrition and science, Chloe has written for international publications including the Wall Street Journal and Green King.