Capsaicin, the component which gives hot sauce its burning sensation, could play a key role in the future of weight loss.
Surgeries known as vagal de-affrentation, which uses capsaicin, and vagatomy can achieve weight loss and reduce the risk of obesity-related diseases with fewer side effects when compared to bariatric weight loss surgeries.
The study was conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and is published in the May issue of Digestive Diseases and Sciences.
After testing the two surgeries in the lab, the researchers found that vagotomy significantly reduced total body fat, as well as visceral abdominal fat—the "beer belly" fat that pads the spaces between abdominal organs. Vagal de-afferentation also reduced these fats, but to a lesser degree.
However the researchers state the reduction is still remarkable.
"The reduction in visceral fat is particularly important," said Ali Tavakkoli, of the BWH Department of Surgery.
"High visceral fat volume is a marker of obesity and obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes. Preferentially lost visceral fat after vagal de-afferentation highlights the potential for this procedure."
Vagotomy involves removing the vagus nerve, which sends information between the gut and the brain. Vagal de-afferentation also involves the vagus nerve. But rather than removing the nerve completely, surgeons use capsaicin to destroy only certain nerve fibers.
Capsaicin destroys the nerve fibers that take signals from the gut to the brain, leaving intact the nerve fibers that send signals in the opposite direction, from the brain to the gut.
Between the two surgeries, vagal de-afferentation is associated with fewer side effects.
The researchers note that more work needs to be done on whether these surgeries can be used on humans, and whether capsaicin could be applied directly to human vagal fibers. The study results, however, provide promise of what the future can hold.
"As demand for surgeries that reduce weight and obesity-related diseases increases, procedures that can achieve success in a less invasive fashion will become increasingly important," said Tavakkoli.
"This is an important and developing surgical discipline, especially as diabetes rates soar worldwide, and people try to find effective therapies to fight this epidemic."
Natural Weight Loss Aids
Green tea is rich in the antioxidant called catechin which help speed up metabolism and burn fat quicker. It also contributes towards lowering LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol).
Pinapples contain high levels of an enzyme called bromelain that aids digestion and prevents inflammation and swelling in the gut, which can lead to constipation and weight gain.
Green Coffee Beans
Green coffee bean extracts help reduce the absorption of fat and glucose in the gut, as well as insulin levels, which improve metabolic function. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/03/28/green-coffee-new-weight-loss-food_n_1384970.html?ref=uk-lifestyle" target="_hplink">Read more about the weight-loss benefits of green coffee beans here</a>.
Although drinking water alone won't shift the pounds, drinking a glass of it before you eat will make you eat less and suppress your appetite. It also keep you hydrated throughout the day and will keep hunger pangs at bay, because hunger is mostly driven by dehydration.
Having an egg for breakfast keeps you feeling fuller for longer as it acts like a bulking agent in the stomach. It also staves off hunger pangs because the protein prevents the blood sugar level spikes, which lead to food cravings.
Eating half a grapefruit before each meal or drinking grapefruit juice three times a day helps aid weight loss. The fruit's phytochemicals reduce insulin levels, a process that forces the body to convert calories into energy rather than fat.
Beans and pulses contain cholecystokinin, a natural appetite suppressant as they stay in the stomach longer. They also help keep blood sugar on an even keel, so you can stave off hunger longer.
A little bit of cinnamon a day can help control post-meal insulin spikes, which make you feel peckish. A recent study by U.S. Department of Agriculture showed that just a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon a day lowered the blood sugar and cholesterol levels.