Spicy Foods Help with Weight Management

Monday, June 15th, 2020

The capsaicin in chiles may help you lose weight.

As a southwestern food producer, we use red and green chiles as seasoning on our pistachios. We know all about the health benefits of pistachios and share them frequently in our blogs. It’s even more fun to find out that the fresh chiles we use for seasoning are beneficial to our health!

Most of us are challenged with managing our weight from time to time. So, what is in chiles that can help us do that? And what exactly do they do to help?

What is Capsaicin?

The “hot” in hot peppers is due to capsaicin, a colorless, odorless oil-like compound found in the fruit of a plant. Capsaicin is primarily found in the membrane that holds the seeds. It’s present in peppers produced by certain pepper plants including varieties called cayenne, green or red chile, or tabasco peppers, which contain especially high amounts of capsaicin.

How Does Capsaicin Help with Weight Management?

Proponents claim that consuming capsaicin extract can help speed up metabolism and reduce fat tissue, as well as curb your appetite.


Capsaicin has been shown to increase satiety. Studies have indicated that capsaicin increases the sensation of fullness and decreases the desire to eat after a meal.


Consumption of capsaicin and the nonpungent compounds in chile peppers known as capsinoids may increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation, according to a report published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. Researchers reviewed previously published studies and found that in studies where participants had a mean body mass index (BMI) falling within the overweight or obese range, ingestion of capsaicin or capsinoids increased metabolism.

Body Mass

In addition to reducing energy intake, preliminary research suggests that capsaicin intake may reduce the waist-to-hip measurement ratio. In a study published in Appetite in 2017, researchers found that capsaicin intake at 2 mg per day lowered the waist-to-hip ratio at six weeks.

What Else Is Capsaicin Good For?

Capsaicin also helps with other things. It’s been found to help fight certain cancer cells and in a cream form it treats the pain of arthritis. Capsaicin may also have positive vascular effects. As a result, it may be beneficial to people with diabetes and may also help reduce risk for stroke and high blood pressure.

The Bottom Line

Although capsaicin is generally considered safe when consumed in moderation as a food, capsaicin supplements may cause side effects such as stomach irritation, stomach pain, bloating, and the aggravation of ulcers and heartburn. While it’s too soon to recommend capsaicin supplements (or a high intake of chili peppers) for weight loss, increasing your capsaicin intake somewhat by adding chile peppers, cayenne pepper, or paprika to your cooking may be beneficial to your overall health (partly due to the antioxidant effects). Both the spicy and non-spicy compounds in chile peppers may play a role in weight loss.

I don’t know about you, but now seems like a good time to order some red or green chile pistachios!

Bon Appetit!

Heart of the Desert is a working pistachio ranch and vineyard with four retail establishments in New Mexico. They are best known for their farm fresh pistachios and Award-Winning New Mexico wines. Each store offers wine and pistachio tastings. They offer worldwide shipping and produce attractive gourmet baskets that make great corporate and family gifts. The main store, on the ranch in Alamogordo, offers farm tours that showcases how pistachios are grown and processed as well as a stunning Tuscany themed patio that overlooks the groves and is available for weddings, private parties or enjoying a relaxing glass of wine.