A dash of cayenne may burn calories

A new study says spicing up your food may burn more calories. A dash of cayenne pepper did curb participants' appetites, but according to Dr. Abhishek Agarwal, a family physician at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, the study results come with a major flaw.

"It's a small study. It's conducted with only 25 people... So you can't generalize the results with the entire population."

12 of those 25 participants liked spicy foods and 13 did not, so after weeks of testing Mary Jon-Ludy, a graduate researcher at Purdue University, said, "What was special about those unfamiliar with spice is that they also reported feeling less hunger for sweet, fatty and salty foods after the meal and ate approximately 70 calories less at their next meal."

She said the red pepper itself helped to knock off some of those calories. "Participants burn about 10 more calories after eating spicy tomato soup containing about half a teaspoon of ground cayenne red pepper," compared to non-spicy tomato soup, said Jon-Ludy.

Dr. Agarwal countered, "if you use a lot of cayenne pepper in cajun cooking then by all means go ahead do it! But for somebody who doesn't like spicy food…then there's absolutely no need to add a lot of in the cayenne pepper hope of losing weight. It's not going to help you lose a dress size."

Ludy added, "this is not a miracle cure to the obesity epidemic, but adding small amounts of red pepper to the diet is fairly easy to implement.

An extra dash of red pepper probably will not do any harm to your health, said Dr. Agarwal.

"Cayenne pepper traditionally comes from red hot chili peppers and we haven't seen any side effects like ulcers or high blood pressure," continued Dr. Agarwal.

The study, which was conducted at Purdue University, was sponsored by a spice manufacturer.

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