There’s a reason eggs are such a popular breakfast food: From scrambled to poached, the protein-packed food pairs well with just about any savory grain or starch (think toast, quinoa, potatoes, or brown rice) and can keep you feeling satisfied for a long time. But if you like to snack between meals, even enjoying a filling breakfast might not be enough to break the habit. But here’s a simple way to stop those cravings: add cayenne pepper to your next plate of eggs!
What is cayenne pepper?
Dried cayenne pepper is made from the long thin chili pepper of the same name. On the Scoville Heat Unit Scale for chili peppers, cayenne peppers fall just above jalapeños and slightly below habaneros — in other works, they’re medium-spicy. Like other spicy peppers, they get their heat from capsaicin, a naturally occurring active compound.
How Cayenne Pepper Stops Cravings
According to a study from Food Quality and Preference, the heat from cayenne pepper can make you feel fuller. Researchers split participants into two groups: those who ate soup with cayenne, and those who ate soup without it. Afterward, participants who had the cayenne reported higher levels of satiety than those who had cayenne-free soup. In addition, the cayenne group had a lower desire for sodium — so they could (theoretically) more easily resist a potato chip or other salty snack. Another study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirmed the findings, concluding that capsaicin can increase satiety and reduce a person’s caloric intake.
Moderation is Key
However, researchers from both studies noted a few downsides. In the Food Quality and Preference study, investigators found that cayenne pepper also increased the participants’ desire for sweet and fatty foods, while scientists from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study noticed that capsaicin caused satiety by increasing gastrointestinal symptoms, such as a burning sensation in the stomach. Ouch.
As a result, both studies imply that moderation is key. With this in mind, a small sprinkle of cayenne paired with a high-protein breakfast might be the happy medium you need to feel full and reduce your cravings. Some nutritionists also believe that a little cayenne can produce heat in your digestive tract, which boosts your metabolism.
No matter how you take your eggs, it’s worth a shot! A dusting of cayenne might be the trick (and kick!) you need to stay away from your refrigerator until lunchtime.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.