Red Pepper may decrease fat intake.




British Medical Journal

Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Cayenne Obesity, Weight Loss
Professional Data: Cayenne Obesity, Weight Loss


For centuries, cayenne pepper has been used both as a spice for foods in many cultures around the world and as a traditional medicine, especially by Native Americans. The active component of cayenne, capsaicin, has been studied for its ability to relieve pain and inflammation, as well as other beneficial effects. A standardized extract is derived from the fruit of the cayenne plant, the cayenne pepper. Of interest are two recent studies that investigated the effects of cayenne pepper on hunger and energy intake in humans. These studies indicate that cayenne may decrease appetite and subsequent protein and fat intake in Japanese females and energy intake in Caucasian males. The effect may be due to an increase in nervous system activity caused by the cayenne pepper.1

In the June issue of British Medical Journal, the authors stated that dietary red pepper modifies and suppresses energy and macronutrient intakes. In this small study, 16 Japanese volunteers sampled soups with different amounts of red pepper to determine which soup was ‘strongest’. The volunteers received a normal breakfast on the day of this experiment. For lunch they received either a soup containing placebo, moderate, or strong doses of red pepper plus a placebo capsule, or they received a placebo soup and capsules with a strong dose of red pepper. In all cases, the amount of fat, protein and carbohydrates were about the same. In the group that received the strong soup, fat intake was lower than the placebo group. In addition, consumption of the strong capsules also had the same effects. The results showed that intake of ‘strong’ red pepper whether it is in food or capsule form, reduced the fat intake as well as the overall energy intake.2


1.Halford JC, Blundell JE. Pharmacology of appetite suppression. Prog Drug Res. 2000;54:25-58.
2.Yoshioka M, et al. Maximum tolerable dose of red pepper decreases fat intake independently of spicy sensation in the mouth. Br J Nutr. Jun2004;91(6)):991-5.