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According to the Tokyo-based company Ajinomoto, the newly discovered extract works by speeding up the metabolism so that the body burns up more fat, and could be added to foodstuffs, including desserts, reports the Daily Mail.
New extract found to burn calories
The extract, called dihydrocapsiate (DHC), is one of several chemical compounds known as capsinoids found in a particular variety of chilli, called CH-19 sweet.
This tasteless or odourless ingredient speeds up the body's metabolism, helping it use up more calories, and unlike similar extracts in other chilli varieties, DHC does not cause the burning sensation of hot peppers such as jalapenos or the Scotch bonnet, which is one of the hottest peppers in the world.
The DHC extract is already sold in the form of diet supplements in the United States and Japan.
DHC extract to be used as a food additive
Now the Japanese food firm wants to use the DHC extract as a food additive. The company plans to produce the extract synthetically because chilli peppers only produce small amounts.
The company says just three milligrams, the amount of extract found in ten chillies, would be enough to have an effect.
For a licence to market DHC in Britain, Ajinomoto has submitted plans to the Food Standards Agency watchdog with the aim of adding it to chocolate bars, desserts and ready meals targeted towards people who battle the bulge.
DHC is already declared safe by the FSA.
DHC is a unique weight management aid
Ajinomoto spokeswoman Naoko Obara said DHC was not a "magic bullet" in the battle against the bulge, but it would be unique weight management aid among slimming aids, as stated by the Scotsman.
She said, "Most weight management aids focus on caloric intake. Capsinoids are unique in targeting the other side of the equation, the caloric output.
"Increasing the body's metabolism to burn more calories can be as important as diet and exercise. But it should be used as one piece of the overall weight management equation."
DHC laden food have any effect?
Dieticians, meanwhile, have said that eating the foods won't really make the red hot idea a reality, reports the Daily Mail.
According to them, a person weighing 15 stone consuming the recommended portions of foods containing DHC would probably burn off only 50 extra calories a day, which is equivalent of a digestive biscuit.
Tam Fry, spokesman for the National Obesity Forum, said, “I believe elsewhere there are other people such as dieticians who are being a little cautious. Their caution is correct.”
“It is essentially an interesting idea but as ever, the proof is in the pudding,” he added.