British Journal of Nutrition

Research Article

Combined effects of red pepper and caffeine consumption on 24 h energy balance in subjects given free access to foods

Mayumi Yoshiokaa1, Eric Douceta1, Vicky Drapeaua1, Isabelle Dionnea1 and Angelo Tremblaya1 c1

a1 Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Division of Kinesiology, Laval University, Ste-Foy, Québec, Canada G1K 7P4


The effects of red pepper and caffeine ingestion on energy and macronutrient balances were examined in eight Caucasian male subjects. All subjects participated in two randomly assigned conditions: control and experimental (red pepper and caffeine). After ingesting a standardized breakfast, subjects ate three meals ad libitum (lunch, dinner and breakfast) and snacks which were served approximately 2 h after the lunch and dinner over a 24 h period. Two appetizers (2×322 kJ with or without 3 g red pepper) were given before lunch and dinner, and a drink (decaffeinated coffee with or without 200 mg caffeine) was served at all meals and snacks except for the after-dinner snack. It is also important to note that on the experimental day, 8.6 and 7.2 g red pepper were also added to lunch and dinner respectively. Red pepper and caffeine consumption significantly reduced the cumulative ad libitum energy intake and increased energy expenditure. The mean difference in energy balance between both conditions was 4000 kJ/d. Moreover, the power spectral analysis of heart rate suggested that this effect of red pepper was associated with an increase in sympathetic:parasympathetic nervous system activity ratio. These results indicate that the consumption of red pepper and caffeine can induce a considerable change in energy balance when individuals are given free access to foods.

(Received March 30 2000)

(Revised August 17 2000)

(Accepted August 03 2000)


c1 * Corresponding author: Dr A. Tremblay, fax +1 418 656 244, email: