Posted on 04/22/2011 at 05:25:36 PM by Student BloggerBy: Umang A.
Recently, Britain's Food Standards Agency (FSA) approved the use of dihydrocapsiate (DHC) as a food additive (subject to EU's approval). This development comes after FDA's approval in 2009, where synthetic DHC was recognized as GRAS "for use as an ingredient in a variety of food categories". However, currently it is only available as a weight-loss dietary supplement in the US.
DHC ((4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzyl) 8-methylnonanoate) is a capsinoid naturally found in a variety of Capsicum species. An analogue of capsaicin - the pungent compound present in chilies, DHC is a viscous and colorless oil and was first discovered in CH-19 Sweet pepper. The only difference between capsaicin and DHC is that the amide bond between the vanillyl moiety and fatty acid moiety in capsaicin is replaced by an ester bond in DHC. However, due to low supply of peppers synthetic DHC is commercially manufactured by fermentation.
As per current market scenario, most of the slimming products rely on the mechanism of lowering caloric intake by suppressing appetite. However, DHC's niche is that it uses the other approach of boosting caloric output or energy expenditure. It has been shown to increase the burning of fat through a sympathetic nervous system pathway. DHC is rapidly hydrolyzed and absorbed through the gut and eliminated into the urine. Given the growing popularity of DHC, we will soon have food products in the market which would help in weight-loss.
Chilies originated in Mexico from where they spread throughout the world. Today, India is the world's largest producer and exporter of chilies. From curries and salad to pickles and snacks, peppers are extensively used in cuisines throughout the world. Some Indian recipes (for a slimming aspirant) can be found on: www.nandyala.org/mahanandi/archives/category/vegetables/peppers/chillies/
Capsicum species have also been used in traditional medicine systems as a digestive, stomachic, stimulant and even as a pain killer having implications in diarrhea, cholera, arthritis etc. In Ayurveda, the Indian system of medicine, chilies are considered helpful to accelerate oxygenation of cells, formation of bile, vascular stimulation, eliminate flatulence and body temperature homeostasis. In hot tropical climates people eat chilies to enhance perspiration which in turn helps to cool the body.
Now after so much being told, if we soon have food products which provide all the benefits of chilies, and yet are not pungent, will you not go for them? At least I would. So, let's wait for calorie-burning cakes with chili extracts to enter the market. Till then, enjoy your own capsicum recipes.