This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT
There are multiple so-called weight loss ingredients. Some of them indeed work, others not so much. Is cayenne pepper good for weight loss?
Cayenne peppers are a specific kind of hot chili pepper mainly used to flavor dishes. If you dry and ground it you get the powdered spice with the same name.
Does cayenne pepper burn calories?
The main ingredient important for weight loss in cayenne peppers is “capsaicin. This substance is also found in other types of peppers.
In a small study with 15 people consuming red peppers with every meal increased feeling of fullness (2). The study suggests that adding capsaicin to your meals may help you reduce hunger.
More studies with more people are needed to completely confirm this result.
Speeding up metabolism
Another small study examines the effect of fresh chili peppers on metabolic rate. Metabolic rate is the rate of energy expenditure.
The research indeed found that metabolic rate was increased (3).
Another study looked at how dihydrocapsiate increases metabolic rates. Dihydrocapsiate is a capsinoid found in chili peppers. People who took a supplement with this substance for a month raised their metabolic rate by around 50 calories (4).
How much does cayenne pepper boost metabolism?
This last research provides you with a more specific number on what you can expect.
50 calories per day for taking a concentrated supplement for one month.
Certainly not bad but you will have to do more than just eat more cayenne pepper to reach your weight loss goals.
Health benefits of cayenne pepper
Cayenne pepper may also provide you with other health benefits besides losing more weight.
How to implement cayenne pepper in your diet
There are multiple ways you can add cayenne pepper in your diet.
You can consume it in its whole form or you can buy powdered cayenne pepper and add it to your meals, into your water or tea, or just pure if you’re up for it.
In terms of dosage you should aim for about 28 grams of fresh chili pepper a day or 1 gram of powdered chili pepper. The dosage of course varies from person to person.
Before you go straight to the big doses, you might want to start small and increase from there. Some people don’t react very well to spicy food.
Cayenne pepper is not for everyone
In certain cases, you want to consult with your primary care provider before you add cayenne pepper to your diet.
For example when you take medication, when you are pregnant or breastfeeding, when you have a surgery coming up and have a history of medical conditions.
The long-term effects of large doses aren’t completely clear. The safe option is to add it to dishes every once in a while instead of taking it daily.
Cayenne pepper may also cause irritation if it comes into contact with your skin and eyes.