Capsaicin is the natural chemical in hot peppers such as cayenne peppers. Several studies confirm that it can enhance fat burning by raising metabolic rate and reducing hunger and food intake.

A new study from Purdue University (West Lafayette, Indiana) confirms this, even in people who are not overweight. The researchers gave subjects a meal containing about ½ teaspoon of red pepper or a meal with no added red pepper.

The investigators reported in a 2011 issue of Physiology & Behavior that when the subjects ate the meal with red pepper, not only did they experience a boost in the number of calories burned just sitting but they burned more calories from fat and also experienced less hunger than when they ate the meal without added red pepper.

So consider adding ½ teaspoon of red pepper, chili pepper or cayenne pepper to your meals for a kick in the taste buds and a kick in the fat cells.