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The Burrito Diet?

Anybody who loves spicy food knows that jalapeno peppers are a staple of Mexican cuisine. Now there's evidence that a non-burning version of the substance that gives jalapenos their sizzle might help burn calories too.

The substance in jalapenos that makes them hot is called capsaicin. There's a naturally occurring, non-burning version of capsaicin called dihydropacslate, or DCT. David Heber of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition and colleagues studied 29 men and women who were willing to consume very low-calorie liquid meals for 28 days. The researchers then asked the subjects to take either placebo pills or supplements containing a synthetic version of DCT.

In a presentation at the Experimental Biology 2010 meeting in Anaheim, Calif. on Tuesday, Heber reported that for at least several hours after eating one serving of the meal, those who consumed the highest amount of DCT burned the most calories. In fact, those who consumed the most DCT burned almost twice as many calories as those taking the placebo.

DCT also signficantly increased a process known as fat oxidation, which involves the body using more fat as fuel, the researchers reported. The findings suggest that DCT may help people lose weight when they consume a low-calorie diet by increasing their metabolism.

The researchers caution that they only tested the effect of DCT in response to a single meal, And obese people may not respond the same way. So the study needs to be followed up with additional research.

But at least the findings may make you feel a little less guilty next time you sit down for a big plate of burritos and nachos.

By Rob Stein  |  April 28, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Nutrition and Fitness , Obesity  | Tags: Calorie, Obesity, Research, Weight loss  
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OK, can't say I really endorse the "burrito diet" (nor, I suspect, do you!). But I do tend to eat less when I eat spicy stuff. I always attributed it to the drinks -- I have to drink so much water or tea to manage the burn that I'm stuffed by the time I get 1/3 of the way through! :-)

Posted by: laura33 | April 28, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

There have been an awful lot of diet pills and supplements (anyone remember fen-phen) pulled from the market only after causing great harm. Meridia looks to be the latest to have serious side effects. Just east a health diet.

There is an interesting post at the Health Journal Club that makes the case that people should just not eat anything that wasn’t a food 100 years ago. Sure gets rid of all the aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, GM food garbage they try and pass off as food these days.

Posted by: LincolnsWisdom | May 1, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

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