Food Myths Debunked: Can Spicy Foods Really Help Me Lose Weight?

7 minute read

Summer is not far away, which prompts people to get into shape quickly. One of the top summer goals for many people is to shed those pounds they accumulated during the winter months and holidays. 

With the goal being to lose weight in a short time, many people turn to fad diets and other methods that are more myth than reality. Eating spicy foods is one such myth that has long been believed to speed up weight loss, but is this more fiction than fact?

Debunking the Spicy Food Myth

There are a number of weight-loss supplements out there boasting quick results, and this is likely attributed to one specific ingredient. Capsaicin is an ingredient in pepper and spicy foods that are believed to increase your metabolism and therefore increase weight loss. These products claim that capsaicin activates your brown fat, which burns calories and enhances your weight loss abilities.

While spicy foods have been shown to increase sweating as a result of their thermogenic effect, they are not recommended for weight loss. 

Spicy foods or capsaicin supplements may also reduce your hunger, which can contribute to weight loss, but the overall picture is not as beneficial as the marketing teams will have you believe. Consuming too many spicy foods can cause stomach issues like cramps and ulcers, and your weight loss may not be as much as you hoped.

Spicy foods can help to boost your metabolism, but because of the potential damage and the fact that high doses of capsaicin are needed for truly effective results, this is not a recommended way to lose weight.

There are healthier ways and more guaranteed ways to boost your metabolism to help you get rid of those unwanted pounds. By increasing your metabolism without the use of spicy foods, you protect your health and lose weight more efficiently.

Boost Your Metabolism to Lose Weight

The best ways to boost your metabolism naturally and promote healthy weight loss include:

Get Your Protein

Eating food causes a thermic effect responsible for increasing your metabolism and protein causes the most significant increase. Eating protein has been shown to promote a feeling of fullness for longer, so you eat less while promoting the burning of more calories

When you lose fat as a result of dieting, your metabolism can slow, but additional protein can help prevent this and will keep your metabolism running at optimal speed. 

Stay Hydrated

Drinking sugary drinks is the worst choice for losing weight or boosting metabolism. Many think that sugar will give you an energy burst, which in turn boosts metabolism, but this is not the case. 

Sugary drinks contain many calories, which doesn’t help the cause and is bad for glucose health. Drinking water through the day is a recommended way to promote metabolism and calorie burning. To get a greater effect, try drinking cooler water, as your body needs to use more energy to bring the water to body temperature.

Stand Up More

Sitting too much through the day is bad for your overall health and your metabolism. Sitting for extended periods of time burns little to no calories and can contribute to weight gain. 

To lose weight, stand up more as this requires more energy, which can boost your metabolism. If your job requires sitting at a desk, be sure to take frequent standing or walking breaks, or invest in a standing desk.

High-Intensity Workouts

These exercises involve more intense bursts of energy and activity, which leads to a faster metabolism and more efficient fat burning. After these high-intensity workouts, your metabolism also runs at a higher rate for a longer period, even though you are no longer moving.

Drink Tea

Green tea and oolong tea are ideal for boosting metabolism. They both work to convert stored fat into fatty acids, which increases fat burning in your body. They are also low in calories, making them a better weight-loss choice than sugary drinks. 

The metabolism-boosting properties of these teas can help you get past the weight-loss plateau that is often associated with metabolism slowing during weight loss.

Get Your Sleep

A lack of sleep is a significant contributor to weight gain and obesity. Sleep deprivation has long been shown to negatively impact metabolism by boosting the production of hormones that cause hunger (ghrelin) and hormones that reduce the production of those that trigger fullness (leptin). 

Not sleeping will limit the number of calories you burn each day and will prevent weight loss, so be sure to catch those z’s so you can boost your metabolism.

| Related: The 8 Foods To Eat For a Great Night's Sleep |

Drink Coffee

Like tea, coffee can boost your metabolism and promote fat burning. The difference between coffee and tea is that the effects of coffee only seem to impact lean individuals. The fat-burning effect in heavier people is not as dramatic. 

Depending on your weight loss goals, coffee might help, but it can definitely boost your metabolism each day. This can help in your long term goals, even if the weight loss is not directly caused by the coffee. There are also additional benefits of drinking coffee.

Change Your Oil

Cooking with saturated fats contributes to fatty deposits and weight gain. Cooking with coconut oil, however, does not do this. Coconut oil is full of medium-chain fatty acids rather than long-chain ones, and these work better to boost your metabolism. Replacing your standard cooking oils with coconut oil can help boost metabolism and contribute to losing weight without having to give up your favorite foods.

The Bottom Line

The race to shed pounds before the summer gets here is on. But you need to be smart about how you lose that weight. Fad diets are not always guaranteed, and myths out there such as spicy foods boosting weight loss are not always that simple once you get past the media hype. 

To lose weight effectively and boost your metabolism in a healthy way, you need to plan your approach and have patience. It may take longer, but the results will last and will be worth the efforts.

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