Cayenne Pepper Curbs Appetite

Purdue University researchers have found that only 1/2  teaspoon of cayenne pepper is required to reduce hunger and increase energy expenditure – aka burn calories.

In the study, researchers took a group of 25 men and women (13 spicy food eaters & 12 non-spicy food eaters) and had them alternate between meals:

  1. dosed with a standardized (1 gram) quantity of cayenne pepper
  2. dosed with their preferred quantity of cayenne (spicy eaters 1.8g / non-spicy eaters 0.3 g)
  3. not dosed with cayenne

Researchers then measured energy expenditure, core body & skin temperature & appetite.


The researchers found that the non-spicy food eaters experienced reduced appetite while consuming the meal with 1 gram / 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper – especially for salty, fatty and sweet foods.

Unfortunately, this effect was not seen in the spicy food eater group, leading researchers to conclude that the appetite suppressing effect of red peppers wears off as diners become desensitized to the effect of spicy food.

According to Dr. Richard Mattes, “that burn in your mouth is responsible for that effect. It turns out you get a more robust effect if you include the sensory part because the burn contributes to a rise in body temperature, energy expenditure and appetite control.”






Douglas Robb

Doug Robb is a personal trainer, a fitness blogger and author, a competitive athlete, and a student of nutrition and exercise science. He's also the co-founder of the Hive Health Media. Since 2008, Doug has expanded his impact by bringing his real-world experience online via the health & fitness blog – Health Habits.

One thought on “Cayenne Pepper Curbs Appetite

  • April 26, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Hey Doug, any idea how long it took for diners to become desensitized to spicy food?


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