A coworker of mine looks like she’s dropped four pant sizes in the past two months, and I know she doesn’t exercise. So I asked her what her secret was. She said she just started drinking an alcohol-free Bloody Mary concoction before meals and the pounds fell off. It sounds unbelievable. Does this actually work?

Yes! While her trick has been around for a while, there’s finally research that proves it’s effective. Scientists in the Netherlands learned that drinking tomato juice spiked with 1 gram of ground chili peppers 30 minutes before a meal led to a 15 percent reduction in food intake. Subjects also opted for less calorie-heavy foods like salad over denser dishes like pasta and creamy soups.

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