What Could the Cold and Chilies Do For Weight Loss?
A new study suggests that we can now burn fat with the combination of cold temperatures and chili peppers, providing effective weight loss. Researchers have found that exposure to low temperatures and the consumption of the chemicals found in chili peppers can increase the number and activity of brown fat cells, which burn energy. The study is the first to prove that the activity of brown fat cells can be induced in people who appear to have very few or no brown fat cells. The participants in the study who were also exposed to the cold also had less ‘bad’ white fat cells by the end of the study. Brown fat cells are currently the subject of intense research as the focus of anti-obesity drugs. In this new study, researchers exposed eight people with few brown fat cells to moderately low temperatures of 63 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours every day for the course of six weeks. Compared to the control subjects, who simply led a normal life, these people had around five per cent less body fat at the end of the study. They also burned more energy when they were exposed to the cold.
The researchers also looked at people who ate capsinoids, which are found in chilies, for six weeks. They found that these people also burned more energy than the control group when they were exposed to the cold temperatures, but they didn’t lose any more white fat than the control group. The experiment couldn’t have continued for long enough to see if there were any white-fat-burning effects on the compounds. The results of this study also help to explain the results of a previous study, which found that people who ate capsinoids had increased levels of fat breakdown. It was previously thought that brown fat, also referred to as brown adipose tissue (BAT), was only ever present in babies. But three independent research groups in 2009 found that brown fat cells do exist in the upper chest and neck of some adults. There is also another type of BAT known as beige fat, which is a subset of brown fat but formed from white fat cells.
Brown fat cells induced by the cold and capsinoids are likely beige fat, because they don’t show up on scans that are used to detect concentrated regions of brown fat cells. The study offers some interesting results because it suggests that chemicals which induce brown fat could be used to fight obesity. They would probably work better at keeping healthy people from becoming fat, rather than working as a diet alternative. However, with a rising obesity crisis, this could offer promising future developments. Capsinoids seem to induce brown fat in the same way as cold temperatures, by capturing the same cellular system that the body’s nervous system uses to create heat in the body. Developers are looking to create a drugs that activates this system, but capsinoids themselves won’t be used as they are a natural product and can’t be patented. The sweet chili peppers that capsinoids come from don’t actually taste hote, but they do produce the same physiological effects, such as making us sweat. Weight loss products are always popular with today’s society, and pharmaceutical companies are hopeful that this study could offer some inspiration for a new product to achieve the same effects in pill form.