April 28, 2010
ANAHEIM, Calif.Plants with a non-burning version of capsaicin called dihydrocapsiate (DCT) could have the weight-management benefits of peppers without the pungency, according to a study from the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition.
Hot peppers contain a substance called capsaicin that not only adds spice to foods, but can cause the body to heat up, promoting calorie expenditure. However, many find these spicy foods to be unpalatable.
In the study, designed to test the weight-loss potential of DCT-containing, non-spicy cousin of hot peppers, researchers documented its ability to increase heat production in human subjects consuming a weight-loss diet. Under the direction of David Heber, professor of medicine and public health, they recruited 34 men and women who were willing to consume a low-calorie liquid meal replacement product for 28 days. The researchers then randomized the subjects to take either placebo pills or supplements containing the non-burning DCT pepper analog. Two dosage levels of DCT were tested. At the beginning and end of the study, body weight and body fat were assessed, and the researchers determined energy expenditure (heat production) in each subject after he or she consumed one serving of the test meal.
Their data provided convincing evidence that, at least for several hours after the test meal was consumed, energy expenditure was significantly increased in the group consuming the highest amount of DCT. In fact, it was almost double that of the placebo group. This suggests eating this pepper-derived substance that doesnt burn can have the same potential benefit as hot peppers at least in part by increasing food-induced heat production. They were also able to show that DCT significantly increased fat oxidation, pushing the body to use more fat as fuel. This may help people lose weight when they consume a low-calorie diet by increasing metabolism.
Heber and his research team presented their results at the Experimental Biology 2010 meeting in Anaheim, CA. This presentation is part of the scientific program of the American Society for Nutrition.
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