BACKGROUND: Addition of capsaicin to the diet has been shown to increase satiety and thermogenesis. The effects of capsaicin on ghrelin, peptide YY (PYY) and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), in relation to changes in hunger and satiety are unknown. AIM: To test the acute effects of a lunch containing capsaicin on gut derived hormones (GLP-1, ghrelin, and PYY), energy expenditure (EE), substrate oxidation and satiety at lunch in the postprandial state. METHODS: Thirty subjects (age: 31 +/- 14 years, BMI: 23.8 +/- 2.8 kg/m(2)) were studied twice in a crossover design. After 30 min resting on a bed, resting metabolic rate was measured by a ventilated hood system. Subsequently lunch (35% of daily energy intake) was served. The two lunch conditions were: (1) lunch without capsaicin and (2) lunch with capsaicin (CAPS). The macronutrient composition (energy percentage) of the lunches was 60% carbohydrates, 10% protein and 30% fat. During 3 h after the lunch diet-induced thermogenesis was measured. Furthermore, anchored 100 mm visual analogue scales on the appetite profile were collected (t = 0, 30, 60, 120, 150, 180 and 240) and blood samples were taken for analysis of GLP-1, PYY, and ghrelin concentrations (t = 0, 45, 60, 120, and 180). RESULTS: Satiety and EE were not different after CAPS lunch as compared to the control lunch. Fifteen minutes after lunch CAPS lunch increased GLP-1 (p < 0.05) and tended to decrease ghrelin (p = 0.07) as compared to the control lunch. PYY responses were not different between the CAPS lunch and the control lunch. CONCLUSIONS: An acute lunch containing capsaicin had no effect on satiety, EE, and PYY, but increased GLP-1 and tended to decrease ghrelin.