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Some guzzle beer to douse the fiery flavor of chili hot sauce, but as it turns out the heat of “chili peppers” (video) may help melt away a beer gut.

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“Obama Loves Chili Hot Sauce”

Capsaicin, the ingredient that gives hot sauce its heat, could play a role in the future of weight loss. According to research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), the ingredient that gives hot sauce its heat could play a role in the future of weight loss.

Ali Tavakkoli, MD, BWH Department of Surgery, and his team have published a study investigating whether the surgery, which is used to treat ulcers, has the added benefit of reducing the risk of obesity-related diseases. But, it has never been used specifically for weight-loss due to the number of possible side-effects like delayed gastric emptying.

The new technique, called vagal de-afferentation, an alternative to vagatomy where the vagus nerve that connects the gut and the brain is cut. The team used capsaicin to destroy only certain nerve fibres in obese rats instead of removing the vagal nerve completely.Leaving intact the nerve fibers that send signals in the opposite direction, from the brain to the gut.

“This is an important and developing surgical discipline, especially as diabetes rates soar worldwide, and people try to find effective therapies to fight this epidemic.”

The researchers note that more work needs to be done on whether these surgeries can be used on humans, and whether capsaicin could be applied directly to human vagal fibres.

However, the study provides  promise of what the future can hold, said Dr Tavakkoli, adding, “As demand for surgeries that reduce weight and obesity-related diseases increases, procedures that can achieve success in a less invasive fashion will become increasingly important.

The study is published in the May issue of Digestive Diseases and Sciences. Edward A. Fox
This research was supported by Harvard Clinical Nutrition Center, Berkeley Fellowship and George Herbert Hunt Travelling Fellowship, and Nutricia Foundation Fellowship.
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