Chillies in the shape of a heart used to illustrate Sponsored Advertising Feature - Angela Day Cooks at Eastgate. Pic for Verve. Chilli, chili, chillies, hot, romance, love, passion.

London - He has a reputation as one of the better-behaved TV chefs.

But Jamie Oliver has revealed he has a secret addiction – to chillies.

Oliver said that, instead of drinking coffee in the morning, he has a “little nibble” on a bit of chilli to get him going.

Appearing on the UK’s Channel 4’s The Last Leg of the Year, the 37-year-old chef admitted that if he did not have a chilli in the morning he felt ill.

He added: “It’s got a chemical in it called capsaicin that is the nearest natural form of morphine... it stimulates serotonin and happiness. Instead of knocking back coffee, I have a little nibble on a little bit of chilli and a lot of cultures have a little bit of chilli in the morning, it just gets you going.”

Earlier this year, scientists linked capsaicin, the chemical which gives peppers their burning sensation, with weight loss.

But Dr Carmine Pariante, a professor of biological psychiatry at King’s College London, said: “There is no evidence that capsaicin regulates mood or behaviour, or induces addiction, when ingested as part of our food consumption.” - Daily Mail