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Spice Up Your Clean Diet Plan the Healthy Way 02/26/12

Clean eating is important not only for building a beautiful physique but for health reasons as well. The only problem with eating cleanly all the time is it can get a little boring if you don’t spice it up a little. You don’t want to do this by using lots of butter or creamy or sweet sauces on your “clean” food or overusing the salt shaker. That defeats the purpose. The way to do is to “power up” clean foods like eggs, salmon, turkey, chicken breast and vegetables with healthy spices. Spices not only add great flavor, they can even help you build a leaner body. Here are some spices that may help with weight loss.


Garlic brings out the taste of almost any food, but it may do more than add punch to your chicken breast. When rats that were fed a high sugar diet for 3 weeks, the group that received allicin, an ingredient in garlic, didn’t gain weight while the other rats did. The allicin in garlic seemed to give their metabolism a boost. This has only been studied in rats, but garlic’s powerful flavor naturally boosts satiety so you’re likely to eat less. Use it to spice up your lean proteins and veggies to give them extra kick.


Tumeric is a spice used in many Indian and Thai dishes. It’s one of the main ingredients in curry. A chemical in turmeric called curcumin has anti-inflammatory and possibly anti-cancer properties, and it also reduces weight gain in mice. A study carried out at Tufts University showed that when curcumin was injected into these mice, it blocked the formation of new blood vessels that feed into fat cells. It also increased fat metabolism in the rodents. Will it do the same in humans?  More research is needed, but with all of the other health benefits of turmeric, it’s one to add to your clean eating plan.


Capsaicin is the ingredient in hot peppers that gives them their punch. Biting into a hot pepper does more than wake up your tongue. It may also help in the battle to lose weight. In animal studies, capsaicin boosts metabolism and stimulates enzymes that break down fat. In humans, these effects haven’t been well studied, but adding capsaicin to food suppresses appetite and increases satiety. Boost metabolism, increase fat breakdown and suppress appetite all at the same time? Capsaicin is sounding better and better.

Other Spices That May Have Weight Loss Potential

Add ginger, black pepper and cinnamon to the list of potential spices that may help with weight loss. Some animal research shows that ginger and black pepper have thermogenic effects. Preliminary research also shows that cinnamon reduces insulin resistance, which may help overweight people with metabolic syndrome lose weight. These spices also have other health benefits, so use them to add more flavor to your food. Use Ceylon cinnamon whenever possible. The cinnamon you find in most grocery stores contains an ingredient called coumarin, which is liver toxic moderate doses and may be carcinogenic. You can order Ceylon cinnamon online.

The Bottom Line?

Spices can make clean eating more palatable, and some spices may suppress your appetite and boost fat loss. Enjoy spicing up your food to give it additional flavor and extra fat-burning power.


Daily Mail Online. “Why garlic can help you lose weight”

The Journal of Nutrition. March 18, 2009, doi: 10.3945/​jn.108.100966.

J Proteome Res. 2010 Jun 4;9(6):2977-87.

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