When Beyonce admitted to having followed the cayenne pepper and maple syrup diet before filming Dreamgirls, many weight loss experts were appalled at the extreme regime.
But new research indicates there may actually have been some scientific sense to the concept of using a spice to boost metabolic activity.
According to a study from Penn State University, adding a combination of turmeric, cinnamon, rosemary, oregano, garlic powder, and paprika had a significant effect on participants’ blood results.
Researchers analysed the effects of the antioxidant-rich spice mix on six overweight but healthy men, all aged between 30 and 65.
They found that adding a 14g dose of the blend to a 1,200 calorie dinner caused an immediate reduction in insulin and triglyceride levels.
Samples of participants’ blood were taken every 30 minutes for four hours after the meal, and compared with a plain control meal, participants’ insulin levels dropped by 21 per cent and triglyceride levels by 31 per cent.
There was no impact on glucose levels, but antioxidant activity was 13 per cent higher in every blood sample after the spicy meal.
The researchers wrote: ‘These significant effects were likely a result of the high concentration of phenolic antioxidants in spices.’
They added that the antioxidant levels in the spices were equivalent to those in 5oz of red wine or 1.4oz dark chocolate.
Sheila West, who lead the study, explained on ABC News: ‘Antioxidants like spices may be important in reducing oxidative stress and thus reducing the risk of chronic disease.’
Dr Ralph Abraham, consultant in Diabetes and Endocrinology at London Medical, said that the results were worthy of further research, using different smaller combinations of the spice mixture to identify which spices are important.
He told MailOnline: ‘The work is reminiscent of the discovery of the beneficial effects of cinnamon on glucose tolerance, which led to many patients, ill disposed to pharmaceutical therapy, adding 1-2 teaspoonfuls of cinnamon powder to their tea or coffee.
‘If you like and enjoy spices, then this is going to be comfortable knowledge.
‘Your best approach is to add spices to your mental list of good things in life – red wine, dark chocolate and seek out your menu and your company to stay happy while doing your arteries good!’ From dailymail.