For the study, researchers gave 40 men and women a 2-milligram capsule of capsaicinoids—the component that gives chili peppers their heat—or a placebo every day. Then, they measured their metabolic rate each hour for three hours after taking the pill.
They found that people who supplemented with the capsaicinoids capsule burned an extra 485 kilojoules per day compared to people who popped the placebo.
That’s because capsaicinoids may have a thermogenic effect, the study authors write, meaning your body creates more heat as it digests the hot stuff, which results in more calories burned.
While the study received funding from the makers of Capsimax—the same capsaicinoids supplement used in the study—previous research backs up their findings. For example, one 2011 study from Purdue University also found that people burned more calories and had less of an appetite after eating red pepper.