Want a recipe to boost your body's ability to burn fat for increased weight loss? Try eating chili peppers in a cold room. Scientists have discovered that consuming the chemicals found in chili peppers and being exposed to cold are the best ways to boost the amount and activity of "brown" fat cells, reported Live Science on October 17.
Brown fat cells burn energy when compared to "white" fat cells, explained Takeshi Yoneshiro, a researcher at Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan.
The fact that a certain chemical and exposure to cold can impact the fat cells makes the study a milestone in weight loss research, said Dr. Clifford Rosen, a professor of medicine at Tufts University who wasn't involved in the study. He noted that the research is unique in providing a way to induce brown fat activity in people who seemed to have very few or no brown fat cells.
To conduct the study, researchers exposed eight people with little or no brown fat cells to two-hour daily sessions in cold rooms (63 degrees Fahrenheit). After six weeks, those people had a five percent reduction in overall body fat and burned more calories.
In addition, the scientists analyzed people who consumed capsinoids (found in chili peppers). That group also burned more calories. It confirmed a prior study showing that eating capsinoids resulted in dramatic body fat decreases, said Yoneshiro.
Brown fat cells remain an area of interest for researchers trying to develop new anti-obesity drugs, said Dr. Soren Snitker, a medical researcher at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He recently led a study that found people who ate chili peppers benefited with smaller waists and increased reduction in fat.