of traditional dietary lifestyle can easily be linked to the prevalence of
obesity and obesity-related chronic diseases. Kochujang
(KCJ) has long
been a part of seasonings in Korean cuisine as a sauce, dressing or seasoning
for meat, vegetable dishes, stew and soup. KCJ is a fermentation product of
powdered red peppers combined with powdered meju (fermented soybean powder),
salt, malt-digested rice syrup, and rice flour
. It takes about six months
for producing fermented KCJ.
taste and health benefits have made KCJ popular outside Korea in recent years. A
number of scientific studies performed in animal models proved the potential of
Kochujang in fighting obesity and genetic mutations.
cholesterol-lowering properties were also revealed. But the effects in humans
potential benefits of KCJ in preventing and treating obesity and heart
were never studied well till recently. Sixty men and women
volunteers, 19 to 65 years of age, who were overweight, took part in a 12-week
study in Korea. They were randomly assigned into two groups such that one group
received KCJ supplementation while the other did not (i.e. the placebo group).
12 weeks, the group who received KCJ supplementation were found to have a
significant reduction in visceral fat (body fat)
. No change in body weight
or waist to hip ratio was observed, however. A decrease in the serum
concentration of triglycerides and ApoB was observed in the KCJ group as
compared to the placebo group. Elevated triglycerides and ApoB are linked with
increased risk of heart disease and disease of blood vessels. An improved lipid
profile (i.e. healthy levels of cholesterol, triglycerides etc.) reduces the
risk of heart diseases.
recorded biological effect of KCJ, a whole food, in free-living overweight
adults brings a huge sigh of relief and is a definitive
marker of the vitality of traditional foods. Kochujang can
be a spicy ingredient in many dishes worldwide.
Western diets may
incorporate KCJ in ketchup or sauce. The exact underlying mechanism remains
obscure. However, the researchers do warn about the high salt content of KCJ,
which may not be so good for people with high blood pressure.
, fermented soybean-based red pepper paste,
decreases visceral fat and improves blood lipid profiles in overweight adults;
Youn Soo Cha et al; BMC Nutrition and Metabolism 2013.