NUTRITION&FOOD Published August19, 2015 By Milafel Hope Dacanay

Hot Chili May Hold the Answer to Reversing Obesity

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Many studies have already showed that chili peppers can help curbing obesity and speeding up weight loss. However, it is unclear how this happens. A group of researchers seems to have the plausible answer.

Researchers from the University of Adelaide led by fellow and associate professor Amanda Page discovered that a receptor that reacts to hot chili pepper can be disrupted by a diet that is high in fat.

According to Page, the stomach can stretch as food enters it. When it is already full, it signals certain nerves to tell the brain that it already contains enough food. The TRPV1 receptor, also known as the chili pepper receptor, regulates these nerve signals.

However, too much fat in the diet can disrupt the function of the receptor, which may significantly delay the feeling of being full. In turn, a person may end up consuming more calories than what is ideal, which can then result to obesity when it is not regulated.

On the other hand, consuming chili peppers, which are rich in capsaicin, may reverse the effect since the same receptor can be activated by this component.

The study is still in the introductory stages. The researchers hope that in the next phases, they can already figure out how fat disrupts the receptor and eventually how to develop "palatable" therapies incorporating capsaicin for people with obesity.

Early this year, a team from the University of Wyoming has learned that that capsaicin, which provides heat for chili pepper, can promote weight loss by converting white fat into brown fat. While white fat is responsible for the storage of fat, brown burns it. A significant presence of brown fat can result to 300 calories burned in a day and better blood sugar control. Thus, it can lower the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  

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