We’re bombarded with health advice and it’s often hard to know what to take seriously. We quiz the experts to find out…
This week: Can spicy foods speed up your metabolism?
Dr Ellie Cannon is a GP and Woman’s medical columnist: “Sadly this is a myth. Metabolism, the rate at which your body uses calories, is governed by your size, shape and movement. People who have a so-called fast metabolism are those who move more. More muscular people have a faster metabolism as muscle uses more calories than the equivalent amount of fat even when you’re doing nothing! Spicy foods briefly boost heat generation – you’ll notice you feel hot after a curry or chilli! While this does burn calories, there’s no long-lasting effect on your metabolism.”
Sarah West is a freelance nutritionist: “Our metabolism is a complex network of hormones and enzymes that converts food into fuel – or calories into energy. Spicy foods produce a modest, temporary rise in your metabolism soon after you consume them but it’s unlikely to be meaningful for long-term weight loss. Increasing your activity levels will boost your metabolism and aerobic exercise, such as walking, cycling and swimming, is the best way to burn calories. Remember, the more muscle you build the higher your metabolic rate will be.”
Dr Anousheh Alavi is a dental surgeon and scientific affairs manager for Colgate: “Some spices are useful for preserving food in hot climates. But there is no evidence for any other health benefits. Some people worry that colourful, spicy foods can stain teeth, but that’s no reason not to eat them. Acidic drinks, such as red and white wine, cola and diet fizzy drinks, are more troublesome as they soften the enamel, making it more prone to staining. Keep your teeth healthy and looking their best by brushing twice daily with an effective antibacterial toothpaste. Do this last thing at night as well as in the morning and floss or use interdental brushes as often as possible.”
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*COLGATE PROFESSIONAL SURVEY, 300 DENTISTS, 2014