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science nutrition blog

science nutrition <strong>blog</strong>

Chili Ingredient Is an Effective Fat Fighter

Capsaicin is the chemical that puts the zing in chili peppers. Supplements containing capsaicin increase caloric expenditure for several hours and might be useful as a weight-loss supplement. Capsaicin works by increasing levels of the “fight-or-flight” hormone epinephrine (adrenaline), which speeds fat use and increases metabolism. A study on mice by Baskaran Thyagarajan from the University of Wyoming, and colleagues, showed that increasing capsaicin in their diet prevented obesity by increasing energy expenditure and metabolism. Most studies show that capsaicin increases daily caloric expenditure by four to five percent and fat use by 10 to 16 percent. It is not a magic bullet that triggers massive weight loss, but helps promote weight control over time.

Adequate Sleep Prevents Obesity

Getting enough sleep is critical for weight control— according to an editorial in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. People who sleep longer have a lower body mass index, which is a measure of the proportion of weight to height. Inadequate sleep increases total food intake, snacking frequency, the number of meals consumed per day and the consumption of high-calorie foods. Poor sleep patterns encourage people to eat for pleasure (hedonistic eating patterns). The editorial concluded that sleep is as important as physical activity and proper nutrition for good health.

Bitter Orange Extract Promotes Blood Sugar Regulation and Speeds Weight Loss

Bitter orange (Citrus aurantium) is a nervous system stimulator included in many weight-loss and energy-boosting supplements. A chemical called p-synephrine is responsible for its effects. A study on rats by scientists from Hainan Medical University in China concluded that bitter orange extract suppressed blood sugar production but had no effect on accumulation in the liver. Bitter orange might be a beneficial weight-loss supplement because it helps regulate blood sugar. Other studies have concluded that bitter orange extract is safe when taken as directed. Its energy-boosting effects reduce the perception of fatigue during exercise, and make workouts seem easier. It might improve performance by increasing training adherence (i.e., showing up at the gym).


1. (Study presented at Biophysical Society Annual Meeting, February 8, 2015)
2. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 101: 5-6, 2015)
3. (Journal of Medicinal Food, 18: 76-82, 2015)