July 25, 2021

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

James Pope

Want to lose weight?  Eat a red pepper.

Scientists have discovered that capsaicin – the ingredient that gives red peppers their pungent flavour – breaks down fat.

It was already known that feeding rats capsaicin slowed their weight gain, but until now, no one knew why.  A team from Korea has found that adding capsaicin to living mice tissue causes fat molecules in the tissue’s cells to disintegrate.

They also found that capsaicin turns on several genes that control fat breakdown.  Their results are published in this month’s Phytotherapy Research.