Friday, 1 February 2013

Food Friday - Black Pepper

A study has finally explained the long-known ability of black pepper, and the component known as piperine that gives it its characteristic taste, to block the formation of new fat cells, and help promote healthy weight.

I love it when they say long-known … long known by whom?  And if it’s so long known why did they just do a study?  But that’s just me … on with the article.

Previous studies had shown that piperine reduces fat levels in the bloodstream and has other beneficial health effects.  Black pepper and the black pepper plant have been used for centuries in traditional Eastern medicine to treat gastrointestinal distress, pain, inflammation and other disorders.  However, scientists have known little about how piperine works at the molecular level.  Oh - that's why they just did the study!  Ooops.

The scientists used lab studies and computer models to learn that piperine interferes with the activity of genes that control the formation of new fat cells.  In this was, piperine may also set off a metabolic chain reaction that helps keep fat in check in other ways.  This finding may lead to wider use of piperine or black-pepper extracts in fighting obesity and related diseases.

Kind of makes me wonder if black-pepper extract is going to be the next “wonder cure” for weight-loss, as was Hoodia years ago and the current craze of Green Coffee Extract.  Still think it’s a matter of calories in vs. calories out.  Even so, I thought the study was interesting enough to pass along.  When looking for a picture to post with this ad I found many, many recipes suggesting an “olive oil, black pepper, parmesan” topping for popcorn.  Could be a yummy 100-cal snack, but watch those portions.

Above from the June 2012 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
as published in Vitality Magazine – July/August 2012
(with my thoughts in blue)

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