Capsiplex Pills - Good for Weight Loss?
By Dietitian Juliette Kellow BSc RD
With claims that it burns off as many calories as a 25-minute jog, it’s no wonder that Capsiplex – a new slimming pill – has made headline news.
But is Capsiplex safe and will it really shift those pounds? Dietitian Juliette Kellow investigates…
The latest slimming pill to reach UK shores really does sound too good to be true. Capsiplex claims to help you lose weight whilst doing nothing more than sitting at your desk, thanks to its ability to burn up to 278 calories – the same amount as in a hamburger, slice of pizza or two large chocolate chip cookies.
Whilst Capsiplex might have been big news for newspapers, is it also big news for our waistlines?
What is Capsiplex?
Capsiplex is a slimming supplement that contains an ingredient called capsaicin, a naturally occurring compound found in chilli peppers (capsicums) that gives them their heat.
It also contains three other ingredients: caffeine, niacin (a B vitamin) and piperine (found in black pepper). As a result, it claims to be 100 percent natural.
How does Capsiplex work?
The product claims that the chilli pepper (or capsaicin) in the pills stimulates our metabolism so we burn more calories and therefore reduce body fat.
Is there any proof it works?
All the claims for Capsiplex are based on one small trial carried out at the University of Oklahoma. In the study, 25 subjects took either a Capsiplex pill or a placebo before exercising.
Researchers then monitored the amount of energy they expended and their oxygen consumption and heart rate 60 minutes before they began exercising, during a 60-minute exercise period that consisted of walking on a treadmill and then 50 minutes after exercising.
The study found that subjects taking the Capsiplex slimming pills burnt three times more calories before exercise, three percent more calories during exercise and 12 times more calories up to one hour after exercising – amounting to an extra 278 calories in total.
So can chillies really aid weight loss?
A small number of animal and human studies have looked at whether chilli consumption increases metabolism.
It certainly seems that adding chilli to meals increases the production of heat in the body for a short time, which, in turn means the body has to work harder to regulate its temperature. As a result, a small amount of extra calories are burnt. However, the effects are only short lived. Longer term effects can be seen from doing regular activity and exercise, which increases your metabolism naturally.
No research has been carried out to see if the active ingredient in chillies – capsaicin – is an effective long-term treatment for obesity.
Ultimately, until considerably more research is carried out, it’s impossible to say whether chillies truly aid weight loss. In reality though, it’s unlikely they will ever be the magic slimming ingredient so many of us desire.
What makes this pill different?
Lots of slimming pills include chilli, so what is it the makers of Capsiplex think set this one apart?
Several slimming supplements certainly include ingredients like cayenne pepper, chilli or capsaicin. However, the manufacturers of Capsiplex say that chilli peppers consumed in the amounts needed for effective calorie burning would considerably irritate the stomach lining if taken in the dosage needed.
They say that in order to prevent this irritation, many supplements use diluted, ineffective quantities of chilli pepper extract.
Capsiplex differs because the supplements use a special coating that’s designed to withstand the acidity of the stomach. As a result, the capsicum extract bypasses the stomach where it can cause irritation and instead is released directly into the intestine, where no discomfort is supposedly felt.
How much does Capsiplex cost?
A one month supply of 30 capsules costs around £60.
How often do you take it?
You take one pill a day in the morning with a glass of water, or for best results, 30-60 minutes before exercise.
How much weight will I lose?
The manufacturers say it depends on your starting weight, but if you have more than a stone to shift you can expect to lose up to 4lb in the first week followed by 1-2lb a week after that.
Are there any other Capsiplex products?
Yes, there’s also a new product called Capsiplex Appetite Suppressor, which claims to help keep hunger at bay and reduce portion size by up to 50 percent to keep you full until your next meal without the need to snack.
- magnesium stearate
- chromium picolinate
It costs £25 for 90 capsules – a one month’s supply.
It appears that no studies have been carried out to assess the effectiveness of this product.
There’s only limited research, if any, to suggest that the individual ingredients are successful at resulting in weight loss.
What are the pros?
As is the case with any slimming supplement, taking Capsiplex slimming pills is likely to mean you spend more time thinking about what you’re eating and how much exercise you’re taking – and that can only be a good thing.
Many people find that when they start taking a supplement they believe will help them lose weight, they unconsciously change their eating and exercise habits for the better, which results in weight loss. In other words, slimming pills can have a placebo effect.
And the cons?
There’s insufficient evidence to suggest this product works to burn more calories. One small study involving just 25 subjects really isn’t robust enough to stand up to medical scrutiny – indeed, this study doesn’t seem to have been published in any peer-reviewed journals.
There’s currently no evidence to suggest that the same results would be seen amongst people who took Capsiplex on a daily basis over a long period of time. It’s therefore a very big assumption to suggest that adults taking this supplement will routinely burn 278 more calories each day.
There’s also insufficient evidence to suggest that the raw ingredient – capsaicin from chilli peppers – is effective at treating obesity.
Claims made on the website suggest that gyms are incorporating Capsiplex into some of their fitness and weight loss programmes. However, a quick chat with a spokesperson from Fusion Gyms, one of the chains mentioned on the website as being supporters of the product, indicates this is not the case. This spokesperson said,
“We have not, and would not, endorse the Capsiplex product.”
This is just the latest in a string of miracle slimming pills that come in and out of vogue. As always, if something sounds too good to be true, then it usually is!
It’s worrying that Capsiplex doesn’t even come with a structured reduced-calorie meal plan, which many similar types of slimming supplements usually do. There’s not even a list of suggestions on how you can make positive dietary changes.
The British Dietetic Association gives clear guidelines on how to spot bad dietary advice. These include promising a quick fix, recommending magical fat-burning foods and making claims that sound too good to be true.
Capsiplex certainly fulfils these criteria and so is certainly not a product that most dietitians would ever recommend.
Spending such a large amount of money on this product concerns me. Some gym memberships cost £30 a month or less and if you manage to go frequently, you could easily find yourself burning an average of at least 300 calories a day!
Plus, you’ll get all the other benefits of exercising – improved cardiovascular fitness, toned muscles so that your overall shape improves and maintaining strong bones thanks to weight-bearing activities.
Exercise will release happy chemicals called endorphins that should help to boost your mood. This supplement won’t achieve any of these things!
All in all, this is a product I would leave on the shelf. Experts agree that the only way to truly boost your metabolism so that you burn extra calories is through exercising and building muscle.
Spicing up meals with chilli certainly won’t do you any harm – and can mean you add less salt to food, which is beneficial to health – so if you want to give that a go, spend a couple of pounds on a jar of chilli powder or a few fresh chillies.
Ultimately, to shift those pounds safely and sensibly, you’ll need to stick to a healthy, balanced diet that’s lower in calories and get more active.
Lose weight the healthy way. You can use the tools and diaries in Weight Loss Resources to see how many calories you’re eating, and how many you burn through the exercise you do. Try it free for 24 hours.