Because of the way spices are absorbed into the body when digested these spices should be eaten in their raw natural state and not in the form of pills, so do not grab a bottle of fat burning spice pills, instead head to the store and buy some real food.
Cumin is very popular in Indian and Chinese cooking. It also helps to boost your metabolism slightly. It is not a hot spice, so is more palatable to most people than hotter spices such as cayenne.
Cayenne pepper is really any hot red pepper. It is the pepper that is used in the Maple Syrup / Lemon Cleanse diet. Cayenne also has other health properties and has been shown to help combat prostate cancer. Many people put chilli sauce on their food to give it a fat burning boost.
Ginger also increases metabolism slightly. Ginger is very popular in Chinese cooking. Add ginger to stews or stir fries. Ginger may also help to reduce bad cholesterol.
Cinnamon is great for people that are losing weight with diet and exercise because it helps to increase blood circulation, which makes transportation of oxygen more efficient. It also has some metabolism boosting properties. Cinnamon also helps to control insulin levels which are related to sugar cravings and fat burning.
Spice is certainly not a wonder cure though. The increase in metabolism is thought to be very low, certainly not as high as many websites state. But even increasing metabolism by 1% will help burn a little extra belly fat, so combined with a healthy and low calorie diet a little spice can benefit you.
The science behind fat burning spices
A study on rats determined that a processed form of turmeric helped reduce fat accululation that results from a high fat fat. The study concluded that “weight was significantly reduced with curcuminoid intake” and that this was likely to have been caused by changes in fatty acid metabolism.
- “Dietary Curcuminoids Prevent High-Fat Diet–Induced Lipid Accumulation in Rat Liver and Epididymal Adipose Tissue” by Akira Asai and Teruo Miyazawa. The American Society for Nutritional Sciences J. Nutr. 131:2932-2935, November 2001.
Another study looked at the effects of capsaicin (chilli pepper spice) on the weight of people who had undergone a weight loss plan. The chilli pepper was compared with a placebo in a double blind trial (meaning that the subjects and researchers did not know who was getting placebo or chill). The research concluded that “capsaicin treatment caused sustained fat oxidation during weight maintenance compared with placebo“.
- “Effect of capsaicin on substrate oxidation and weight maintenance after modest body-weight loss in human subjects” by Manuela P. G. M. Lejeune, Eva M. R. Kovacs and Margriet S. Westerterp-Plantenga. British Journal of Nutrition (2003), 90, 651–659.
- “Cinnamon improves insulin sensitivity and alters the body composition in an animal model of the metabolic syndrome” by K. Couturier, C. Batandier, M. Awada, I. Hininger-Favier, F. Caninib, R.A. Anderson, X. Leverve, A.M. Roussel. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Volume 501, Issue 1, 1 September 2010, Pages 158-161
- “Effect of a dietary supplement combination on weight management, adipose tissue, cholesterol and triglycerides in obese subjects“. by González MJ, Miranda-Massari JR, Ricart CM. P R Health Science Journal. 2004 Jun;23(2):121-4.
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