Cayenne Pepper for Weight Loss?

What Are the Benefits of Cayenne Pepper for Weight Loss?

9 min read


29 May 2019

How cayenne pepper for weight loss works

Cayenne pepper is a natural herb (derived from red peppers) which thanks to the presence of capsaicin – a thermogenic chemical – can help you to burn fat, lose weight and get in shape.

How can thermogenesis help you to lose weight?

The idea behind thermogenesis is that by raising your core body temperature (and overall body heat), you will be able to achieve a full body burn – where you are able to burn fat cells all day long, instead of just when you exercise.

And this is great news for your diet, because in your body’s attempt to regulate its heat and bring it back down to normal, you will end up burning more calories. And the more calories you burn, the more weight you will lose – perfect!

As a bioactive compound, capsaicin is capable of triggering thermogenesis and boosting your weight loss.

But that is not all it can do – as seen during a 2014 study…

When participants were instructed to eat cayenne pepper with every meal, they experienced increased feelings of fullness, fewer cravings, and benefited from a curbed appetite and a faster metabolism. This combination resulted in a decreased calorie intake and greater weight loss.

And this is not the only study to reveal the benefits of cayenne pepper for weight loss…

Over the last couple of decades, there have been numerous studies which have explored the cayenne pepper/weight loss connection.

Study One
During a 2003 study, when female participants were asked to eat fresh chili peppers, they witnessed a rise in their metabolic rate for up to 30 minutes after they finished eating. This elevated rate encouraged their bodies to convert food/nutrients into energy faster, instead of it becoming stored fat. This works in a similar way to how consuming caffeine can increase your metabolism to aid with weight loss.

Study Two
A 2010 study proved the potential of dihydrocapsiate (a capsinoid found in chili peppers) for boosting metabolic rates, when participants raised their metabolic rates by 50 calories (when they took a dihydrocapsiate supplement for a month).

NOTE: Dihydrocapsiate is very similar to capsaicin.

Study Three
A 2011 study demonstrated the impact spices can have on temperature levels when participants were given cayenne capsules. Over the course of the study, they witnessed better weight loss results. This is due to capsaicin raising their body temperature and causing their bodies to go into cooldown mode. When this happened, their bodies started to burn more calories, encouraging weight loss.

NOTE: whilst chili peppers and cayenne supplements can help you to lose weight; with time you will build up a tolerance, meaning your weight loss will eventually start to decrease.

Study Four
A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology backed up cayenne peppers thermogenic claims. When given 10g of cayenne pepper with every meal; for 30 minutes after this 650 calorie meal they experienced a higher energy expenditure, whilst at 120 minutes their carbohydrate oxidation was greater.

Study Five
A 2013 study discovered that cayenne pepper can boost your energy levels (when you’re in deficit) and burn more fat. The study found that when participants were in a 25% negative energy balance; cayenne pepper helped support their weight loss by offsetting this drop in energy levels.

During a 24 hour period, participants were observed on 4 separate occasions (after they had consumed a meal containing 1g of capsaicin-rich red pepper extract). During these observations, the capsaicin was noted to have increased the 24 h fat oxidation in negative energy balance, as well as helped them to continue burning calories (despite being in a big energy deficit).

Combined, all of these studies prove that cayenne pepper has the power to increase thermogenesis and fatty acid oxidation; boost your metabolic rate; decrease your energy intake, and raise your energy levels during an energy deficit.

Or to put it more simply – using cayenne pepper pills for weight loss is a very real possibility.

What are the health benefits of a cayenne pepper diet?

red chili peppers

Cayenne pepper is not only great for weight loss. High in antioxidants, carotenoids and Vitamin C, this herb can encourage improved well-being, longevity, and health.

To date, cayenne pepper is believed to help with heartburn and acid reflux, as well as can:

  • Alleviate symptoms of digestive illnesses – helping to improve your digestive health.
  • During a study on 198 healthy participants and 178 participants suffering with gastrointestinal conditions; when they were given cayenne pepper pills, the supplement’s anti-inflammatory and gastroprotective properties helped everyone involved to experience numerous gastrointestinal benefits.
  • A study performed on rats found capsaicin to have positive vascular effects, meaning it can potentially assist those with diabetes or whom are obese, as well as reduce the risk of strokes and high blood pressure.
  • Regulate your metabolic profile (including your blood sugar levels).
  • Boost your immune system.
  • Sooth symptoms of osteoarthritis and lower back pain (when applied topically).

Who should not take cayenne pepper for weight loss?

Cayenne pepper may be natural, but as a supplement, it may not be safe for everyone. That is why you should not go on a cayenne pepper diet or use cayenne pepper pills for weight loss, if:

  • You’re on any type of medication that is designed to slow down blood clotting
  • You’re scheduled to have surgery
  • You’re pregnant, believe you may be pregnant, plan to become pregnant or are breastfeeding
  • You take theophylline (including Theochron or Uniphyl)
  • You’re on medication for high blood pressure

Similarly, cayenne pepper should not be taken in large doses or for extended periods of time as it can ironically cause heartburn and stomach irritation.

For that reason, you should start off with low doses and see how your body reacts. If there are no side effects, then you can increase it.

Other things to consider:

  • Little is known about the long term effects of cayenne pepper tea, meaning more research needs to be done to fully understand its impact on our health.
  • Cayenne pepper tea can trigger gastrointestinal problems in some people.
  • Consumed in excessive amounts, cayenne pepper may damage your liver or kidneys.

NOTE: whilst it is unlikely any cayenne pepper will get onto your skin when taken as a pill; it is important to know that it can cause skin irritation and itchiness.

How to add cayenne pepper to your diet

You don’t have to munch on red peppers to experience the cayenne pepper weight loss effect. There are numerous ways for you to experience its full benefits. From pills to cayenne pepper weight loss drinks; you can even try cayenne pepper and apple cider vinegar for weight loss.

Below are some examples of how you can add cayenne pepper to your diet:

Cayenne pepper tea – benefits and how to make it

This is easily the most popular option (aside from supplements), as adding this tea to your daily routine is pretty straightforward.
The same can be said of making it. All you need is: ground cayenne pepper, fresh lemon, and purified water, and combined they can help to stimulate your digestive system; protect your heart and encourage weight loss (when used as part of a detox diet).

How to make: stir ¼ teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper into a cup of hot water (water should not be boiled but close to boiled). Squeeze half a fresh lemon and add the juice to your tea, before stirring until the cayenne pepper has completely dissolved. Leave to steep for a few minutes before sipping.

TIP: for added flavor, you can try adding ginger and turmeric (both good anti-inflammatories) or you can stir in a teaspoon of honey.

This tea is also believed to lift your mood; increase your energy levels; alleviate your body of toxins; improve your blood pressure and circulation; protect you from heart disease; reduce pain (by decreasing inflammation) and relieve symptoms of a sore throat.

In a 2009 study published in Clinical Nutrition, when cayenne pepper was combined with green tea, it was found to suppress hunger within healthy participants. Other studies on animals have shown that consuming capsaicin can promote the breakdown of fat and boost calorie burn.

NOTE: cayenne pepper tea can cause a burning sensation at the back of your throat whilst drinking. To minimise, sip slowly.

Cayenne pepper and lemon cleanse

One popular cayenne pepper weight loss drink is the Master cleanse. This drink comprises of lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water, and is designed to be drank for 3-10 days. Over the course of this cleanse, it is meant to rid your body of harmful toxins.

NOTE: this lemon cayenne pepper diet is not sustainable long-term as it can’t provide you with everyday essential nutrients. Dieters have reported suffering from headaches, fatigue and feeling irritable (when drinking only this tea).

If you really want to try it though, consider consuming this drink alongside a meal every so often.

Other ways

  1. Add powdered cayenne pepper to your water, smoothie or protein shake – 28g of fresh or 1g of dried chili pepper per day is all you need.
  2. Add it to your meals to make them more flavorsome. Good choices are curries, stews, chili or Mexican food.
  3. Cayenne pepper pills for weight loss – take 30-120mg capsules, 1-3 times a day.

Now, if you don’t fancy using cayenne pepper drinks – such cayenne pepper and apple cider vinegar – for weight loss, then there are other things you can do to healthily lose those excess pounds.

Simply following a healthy diet and exercising regularly can all help you to manage your weight loss.

When it comes to your diet, make sure you eat a balanced diet of proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and plant fats.

In terms of exercise, you just need to find simple ways to become more active on a daily basis.

For instance you can take the stairs whenever possible; you can deliberately park further away from work, so you have to walk to and from your car; you can take a walk on your lunch break (or even try out some office exercises – yes using your chair!) or you can simply mix up your exercise routine so you don’t get bored i.e. blend Zumba, aerobics, and cardio/intensity/strength training, with yoga, walking, etc.

All of these can help you to burn more calories, boost your metabolism and encourage the development of lean muscle mass as you burn off fat.


Whilst there is no disputing that cayenne pepper has the potential to boost your weight loss endeavors – thanks to its thermogenic properties – the truth is, no matter how you choose to take it, the results aren’t that drastic.

Can it increase calorie burn? Yes. Whilst your body tries to cool itself down, you will burn more calories. Can it curb your appetite? Yes. Capsaicin creates feelings of fullness, helping to reduce cravings and appetite. Can it boost your metabolism? Yes. For up to 30 minutes after consumption, it can increase your calorie burn by 50-74 calories – yes, even when you are in an energy deficit!

Basically, on the surface, cayenne pepper sounds amazing. YET… despite all of this, you cannot use cayenne pepper alone to lose weight.

For stronger results, you should consider exercising, following a balanced diet and adding other herbs – ginseng, cinnamon, dandelion, turmeric, ginger, cardamom, cumin, rosemary, milk thistle, peppermint, etc. – to your arsenal.

Alternatively, you can try incorporating a natural weight loss supplement such as PhenQ into your diet.

Similar to cayenne pepper, PhenQ can help you to burn stored fat, suppress your appetite and block fat production. The only difference is – PhenQ can produce these same weight loss benefits on a much larger scale.