Thursday, May 12, 2011

magical fat burning foods

The week is more than halfway over, but I still haven’t blogged about last weekend! Yes, things are still a little crazy around here.

Anyway, my sister visited Ann Arbor for the first time, and it was good to catch up on life in person. She just finished year 2/3 of her MFA in poetry at Indiana University and writes super cool stuff that I am not good at interpreting.

Banana pancakes from scratch are the perfect start to the weekend.


Find of the weekend: 2 vintage Nancy Drew books at a tiny, extremely cluttered bookstore in Kerrytown. I was pretty obsessed with becoming a detective when I was 10 and read every single book in our library.


We saw Jane Eyre (pretty sure I read it in high school British Lit) with a friend, and it was kind of depressing but also refreshingly not completely cliché. And eating delicious Mediterranean food made things slightly better.


Saw these gorgeous tulips on the way to the farmers’ market. Probably my fave flowers. Things are definitely starting to warm up around here, so I’m crossing my fingers for no more snow.


Recently the NY times ran this article about foods that can serve as appetite suppressants. Researchers found that adding 1 gram of chili pepper (I’m guessing this is just over half a teaspoon) to soup caused subjects to burn 10 extra calories. [Whoop de whoop.] The effect appeared to be greater for those who didn’t regularly consume spicy foods. Subjects not accustomed to consuming spicy foods also ate fewer calories (mean reduction = 143 calorie) after receiving a dose of red pepper.


My opinion: I don’t really like spicy foods, so why would I purposely eat them to burn an extra 10 calories? I think going for a run sounds like a much more enjoyable idea. Also, the study found that the calorie burning effect was lesser in subjects who already regularly consumed spicy food, meaning there is a chance you could develop a tolerance and consequently not burn as many calories (as if 10 is a huge number, anyway). I did think it was interesting that subjects ate fewer calories 4.5 hrs after consuming a spicy meal. Heartburn, maybe?


The article mentioned another study which found that adding vegetable puree to recipes (see 2 of their sample recipes here) caused subjects to consume 200-350 fewer calories per meal.

My opinion: Subjects likely consumed more calories because a) vegetables are low calorie, so they naturally displace higher calorie ingredients when using them as substitutes. b) vegetables contain fiber, which increases satiation. I also appreciated how one of the study authors mentioned that it is important to offer whole vegetables on the side to children, so they learn to develop a taste for them.

So all this to say…I don’t believe in magical fat burning foods.




  1. Banana pancakes are the besttt! And I've heard that about spicy foods but since I don't like them I am not even going to entertain the idea of adding spicy things to my diet! Haha I'm a spice wimp :)

  2. Sadly, people would load up on chili peppers just to lose weight, despite not liking spicy foods. Pain is gain...right?! haha, I see it every day at work, "do you have, XYZ? Dr. Oz says it will help me lose cellulite....what is it?!" ha! Crazy.

    I agree with you on the vegetable puree study. More volume, causes you to be more full (and of course the fiber) so of course you'd lose weight. But the key is keeping it up for a lifetime.

  3. yay for sister time! Im going to get to see mine in a few weeks and already giddy. And i completely agree with you--it's soo interesting how people's ability to reason goes right out the window when the prospect of magically losing weight comes up!

  4. I agree with you - I don't believe in magical fat burning foods either, unless you count whole, unprocessed foods that your body actually knows what to do with when you eat them (as opposed to some processed chemicals that the human body wasn't really meant to eat.)

  5. I love the tulip pictures.. so bright! Mediterranean food makes everything better ;)
    So would you recommend seeing Jane Eyre?!

  6. Going into a used book store is like going on a treasure hunt - good find!

  7. i definitely don't believe in magical burning foods. sure they may do that butttttttt 10 calories? not really the biggest deal.

    aaaaaaaaaand want to come make me those pancakes this weekend? they look very yummy.

  8. I actually love spicy foods, but I'm pretty sure I've developed a tolerance for them over the years... :)

    And, yes, vegetable purees are great, but whole vegetables are a must as well in my opinion (especially for kids).

    Happy Weekend!

  9. i totally don't believe in fat burning foods hahaha.

    mmmm mediterranean food in ann arbor was sooo good. i went to jerusalem garden a lot because the ingredients there was so fresh! amers was good too! :)

  10. Banana pancakes always remind me of Jack Johnson. :) I don't believe in "magical fat burning" anything, to be quite honest. Maybe I'm just skeptical! I do think it would be better to recommend a post-meal walk rather than just adding chili to food. A thirty minute stroll would burn the same amount of calories as that 143 calories reduced via the chili pepper, and you would get the added benefits of exercise! Back to basics, my friends.


Leave a comment; I'd love to hear from you!