Holsworth Research Initiative

Our research focusses on exercise, physical activity and rehabilitation.

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Can caffeine and chilli assist in weight loss?

Dr Brett Gordon is Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology and an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) with the Rural Health School at La Trobe University. He leads the Active Individual research theme for the Holsworth Research Initiative. Dr Gordon’s research is focused on the role of exercise in the management of chronic disease and mechanisms to improve compliance to, and recovery from, exercise. He is currently completing projects in the areas of prediabetes, diabetes, heart disease, hospital care, military transition, and resistance training. His favourite sports are anything that contains a ball or an opponent!  His Twittter handle is: @BrettGordonAEP

Dr Gordon has received funding from the Holsworth Research Initiative in the La Trobe Rural Health School to investigate if dietary supplements containing caffeine and capsaicin (the active component of chili peppers) can help maintain weight loss. As he says:

It is important to identify potential treatments for obesity as we know that regional and rural areas have greater rates of obesity and more commonly poorer health outcomes. At the moment it is particularly important to manage conditions like obesity as that has been identified as a condition more commonly associated with worse outcomes if COVID-19 is contracted.

Obesity: a global challenge

This research addresses one of the key aims of the Holsworth Research Initiative:

to address the global challenges of inactivity and chronic disease

Adult weight gain and obesity are worldwide problems. Among developed countries, Australia has one of the highest proportions of overweight and obese people. Weight gain leads to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, obesity-related cancers and osteoarthritis.

Can Caffeine and Capsaicin save the day?

Caffeine and capsaicin are two cost-effective and safe, natural supplements that show promise in assisting people to manage and maintain weight loss.

Further research is needed to discover the best ways that they can be used (alongside diet and exercise) to manage weight loss, maintain weight loss and ultimately reduce the risks of chronic disease.

Weight loss is hard and expensive

When people lose weight by calorie restriction and exercise the weight is almost always regained over time because the body is programmed to resist weight loss. Further, prescription weight loss drugs are expensive and can have negative side effects, so many people are turning to alternatives.

The research team hopes that this study will help understand how the body balances energy consumption and expenditure and identify the ways in which caffeine and capsaicin increase energy consumption. This will pave the way for more research in the future.

We look forward to providing regular updates on this project.