Spicy food makes ya hot!

As 2010 whirs into full speed and New Year's resolutions are becoming harder to stick to (I will not let go! I will not! I'm currently on day 4 of an attempted 6 day gym streak), I just wanted to share a healthy food "trick" that helps me quite a bit, in case it may help anyone else stick to their goals.

I have heard from a variety of places that spicy foods can be more satisfying and help you feel full longer. (See a couple of article excerpts from actual experts below)
"Spicy Food and Capsaicin -- Personal clients and research have reported that you're often satisfied with less food when the meal is spicy hot. Plus, you automatically eat slower and drink more water! If your taste buds can handle the heat, add chili peppers, hot sauce and salsa to your meals." (except from 8 Foods That Help You Lose Weight by Joy Bauer, M.S., R.D., C.D.N.

"Spicy Foods

Do you love hot, spicy dishes? Is Tabasco sauce one of your must-have condiments? If so, you may be in luck — with regard to your metabolism, that is. Some studies show that eating foods seasoned with chili pepper or black pepper can boost metabolism by up to 23%.
a Yahoo! Health Expert for Nutrition)

When you eat a spicy dish, your body generates more heat, which, in turn, helps burn calories. But unless you eat spicy foods constantly (and maybe you do!), the amount of calories that you actually burn may be negligible. And the effect on metabolism only lasts for about 30 minutes.

However, spicy foods may offer another benefit: making you feel more full. In fact, in one study, men who were fed appetizers seasoned with hot sauce before eating a meal ate about 200 fewer calories than men who didn’t eat the hot sauce. The researchers think that the sauce, which contained capsaicin (the chemical that makes certain peppers hot), helped to blunt their appetites. So, spice up your meals with some red pepper flakes, hot sauce, or even ginger. But be careful if you have heartburn, as these spices may aggravate the condition." (Excerpt from Fat Burners: Can Certain Foods Really Make You Slim? Amy Campbell)

I have been using this trick for some time now, and I truly believe I feel more satisfied, and sooner, after I eat a spicy, flavorful meal. Most often, I use this trick at lunch time. Most weekdays, I have a frozen Smart Ones (Weight Watcher's brand) entree and a salad with light dressing. As far as frozen meals go, Smart Ones aren't too bad, but I like to spruce them up just a tad. I usually add a tablespoon of shredded parmesan (about 35 calories) and a few shakes of crushed red chili flakes to my Smart Ones Lasagna Florentine or Three Cheese Ziti. And to my salad, I often add pepperoncinis, waxed peppers or jalapenos.

Try it, you might like your "diet" lunch a bit better, and stay satisfied longer :-)

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