There is good reason to indulge in foods that carry some extra kick. But is it true, as has long been held, that spicy foods not only heat you up but also speed up the metabolism?
Over the years, various studies have examined the claim and suggested that certain spices can in fact increase metabolic rate by raising body temperature, though to what extent and for how long is unclear. Capsaicin, the compound that gives red chili pepper its powerful kick, creates the largest bump in heat generation, which helps burn more calories immediately after a meal. Black pepper and ginger have similar effects.
Generally, studies have shown that on average a meal containing a spicy dish, like a bowl of chili, can temporarily increase metabolism by about 8 percent over a person’s normal rate, an amount considered fairly negligible. But besides a slight uptick in metabolism, spicy foods may also increase feelings of satiety.