Pepper Extract to Burn Calories

March 7/London/Indo-Asian News Service -- It sounds just too good to be true: cakes and chocolate bars that help burn calories, courtesy a tasteless extract from chilli peppers.

This "miracle" extract, known as dihydrocapsiate (DHC), speeds up the body's metabolism, helping it use more calories. It is already sold in the form of diet supplement pills in the U.S. and Japan, but it could be about to be used as a food additive in Britain, the Daily Mail reports.

The ingredient is one of several chemical compounds known as capsinoids found in a particular variety of chilli.

Now, Japanese food firm Ajinomoto has submitted plans to the Food Standards Agency watchdog with the aim of adding it to chocolate bars, desserts and ready meals targeted toward slimmers.

It is now up to the European Commission to decide whether it can be sold. If approved, products with DHC could appear on British shelves soon.

According to the manufacturer, a person weighing 15 stone (approx 95kg) consuming the recommended portions of foods containing DHC would probably burn only 50 extra calories a day -- the equivalent of a digestive biscuit.

Ajinomoto plans to make the ingredient synthetically as only very small amounts can be derived from chilli peppers.

From the March 21, 2011, Prepared Foods E-dition