Add cayenne pepper to your green tea and reduce your appetite? (Photo by loxosceles)
In my own experience, drinking green tea can moderately help with hunger during a fast. But what about the effect of green tea on appetite in general? Does it help you lose weight by making you want to eat less?
In a brand new study, Reinbach et al. put subjects on two different diets: one resulted in a positive energy balance (meaning they ate more calories than they spent) and the other in a negative energy balance (meaning they ate less than their normal calorie intake). During the three weeks on each diet, the subjects were also given green tea, capsaicin, sweet pepper, a combination of capsaicin and green tea, or a placebo, to see how the supplements affected their appetite.
During the negative energy balance diet, the subjects ate 10% of their normal calorie intake for breakfast and 15% for lunch. On the positive energy balance diet, the calorie intakes were 20% for breakfast and 40% for lunch. At dinner, the subjects were allowed to eat as much as they wanted. The amount eaten at the ad libitum dinner was measured for each treatment group.
The treatments were given to the participants with each of the three meals consumed daily. Those in the green tea group received 3.5 dl of green tea drink, containing ~600 mg catechins and ~75 mg caffeine. The capsaicin capsules contained 510 mg of cayenne pepper. The CH-19 sweet pepper (Capsicum annuum L) capsules contained 2.3 mg capsiate.
Despite eating more at dinner during the negative than the positive energy balance diet, the subjects lost weight on the negative energy balance diet and gained weight on the positive energy balance diet, suggesting that total energy intake was indeed lower during negative energy balance.
All treatments reduced energy intake at dinner during positive energy balance. The most effective treatment was the combination of green tea and capsaicin, followed by green tea alone. Although there was a slight decrease in calorie intake from all treatments even during negative energy balance, the effects were more noticeable during positive energy balance. Energy intakes are shown in the figure below.
The participants taking green tea and capsaicin reported the least hunger and most satiety on both diets. The combination of green tea and capsaicin also significantly reduced liking over meals. Green tea or capsaicin alone didn't have the same effect. Furthermore, green tea and capsaicin, together or separately, reduced the desire to eat fatty, salty and hot foods.
Green tea, capsaicin, sweet pepper, and a combination of capsaicin and green tea all reduced calorie intake during positive energy balance. A similar but less significant effect was seen during negative energy balance. Green tea with capsaicin (yielding ~1,800 mg catechins and 1,530 mg cayenne pepper daily) was the most effective treatment in reducing calorie intake and appetite.
Based on these results, supplementing with green tea, capsaicin or sweet pepper may be more helpful for controlling excessive eating than for staving off hunger during a low-calorie diet or a fast.
For more information on green tea and weight loss, see these posts:
Green Tea Increases Weight Loss during Caloric Restriction in Rats
Green Tea Extract Increases Insulin Sensitivity & Fat Burning during Exercise
Green Tea Extract Enhances Abdominal Fat Loss from Exercise
A High-Protein Diet Is Better than a High-Carbohydrate Diet for Weight Loss