The Cayenne Pepper Experiment: Mixed Results

About a month ago, I started The Cayenne Pepper Experiment.

In an earlier post, I discussed how one of the things that hasn't gone well with this particular marathon season is that I'm 4 pounds heavier than I was last season and 8 pounds heavier than I was 2 years ago when I had a 3:18 PR.

While this still puts me at an "ideal" BMI, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that carrying extra weight around during a marathon isn't ideal for PR's.

At the same time, my diet is mostly-somewhat-reasonably healthy, so outright "dieting" when I was running 50 miles a week didn't seem to make sense.

However, I remembered that when I went on my insulin pump eight years ago, the more efficient use of insulin changed my total daily dose from 60 units to roughly 42. When I did that, I lost 15 pounds without changing anything. This caused me to conclude that if I could lower my average insulin dosage further, maybe those 4 pounds would just slide away.

About that time, a diabetic I know mentioned to me his use of cayenne pepper. In a nutshell, cayenne pepper is reported to do a lot of things for you. In regards to me, however, there are reports that it will increase insulin sensitivity and act as a natural stimulant. Seemed like a plan to me.

Here's what worked:
The cayenne pepper worked pretty much as advertised. Though I can't say my body felt incredibly stimulated, it definitely felt warmer, particularly during the first week. Also, almost immediately I required less insulin. My average daily dosage went from 42 units to 35 - a drop of 20%!

During the same month, I didn't lose any weight, other than a pound or two which found it's way back on within a day or two. In short, the process worked, but the results didn't come.

Adverse reactions:
As you can see from the attached link, cayenne peppper is healthy stuff and common sense says I should probably continue it. However, what I didn't like was how directly responsible it was for affecting blood sugar. In other words, if I missed a dose (and the plan is to take it with every meal), my blood sugar would be immediately affected in the hours afterward. It seemed that the cayenne was only as effective as the last dose. Moreover, on some days I would try to sneak in some after the meal if I forgot, and my stomach wasn't able to adjust to that.

With my marathon less than a month away, I'm abandoning the cayenne pepper so that I have plenty of time to re-align my basal and bolus rates.

Cayenne pepper did increase my metabolism and decrease my insulin requirements. However, there's a less direct relationship between insulin requirements and weight than I once thought (particularly if you're not overweight), so it's not a way that I was able to shave a few pounds.

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