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Peppers for Weight Loss: Second Opinion

''It needs further study as far as a potential weight loss product," says Lauri Byerley, PhD, RD, an associate professor of research at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, who reviewed the study results for WebMD.

She points out, too, that people in the UCLA study were very obese, and on a very low-calorie, liquid diet supervised by health care professionals.

So the results could differ for people dieting by cutting back on portions or fat, for instance.

People on liquid diets typically experience rapid weight loss, partly because they have so much to lose, so dieters who expect slower weight loss may not benefit as much from the DCT, she says.

“We can't conclude yet whether this approach would help people seeking slower weight loss, because they have less to lose," Byerly tells WebMD.

Even so, she agrees with Heber that piling on the peppers can't hurt. "[But] it's got to be someone who likes the spice," Byerly says.

Advice for Dieters

The type of DCT used in the study isn't available on the market, Heber says.

But someone who wants to get a potential DCT-like boost could add chili spices to their dishes, he says.

As a way to burn calories, he says, it's not a primary strategy but an add-on. "I would put it in the same category as green tea and caffeine," Heber says.

Still, he sees no downside. The DCT, he says, "is not absorbed into the body. It doesn’t get out of the gut."

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