THE AUSTRALIAN OBESITY crisis continues unabated. A staggering 63 per cent of adults are now overweight or obese – for men, that number rises to 71 per cent, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Already, obesity accounts for seven per cent of the national disease burden, with incidence rates of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer projected to rise as waistlines keep expanding. OK, it’s too heavy a problem for easy answers – but the latest studies suggest you could have a crack at it using what’s already in your kitchen cupboard.
A six-week study revealed that piperonal, a compound in black pepper, significantly reduced the harmful effects of a high-fat diet in rats. By the end of the trial, test subjects had gained less weight and had lower body fat percentages and blood sugar levels than the control group. Scientists concluded that compounds in pepper regulate common genes associated with obesity. Plus, research published in Nutrition & Metabolism found that pepper causes muscles to burn more fat during intense exercise – another reason to keep your grinder close for pre-workout eggs.
Underused compared to salt, and far less pricey than the apothecary list you’re taking into About Life, it’s comforting to know that the true superfood has been under your nose the whole time. Weight loss needn’t be complicated – so get cracking. ■