This 'miracle' extract – known as dihydrocapsiate (DHC) – speeds up the body's metabolism, helping it use up more calories.
It is already sold in the form of diet supplement pills in the U.S. and Japan, but it could be about to be used as a food additive in Britain.
The ingredient, which is tasteless, is one of several chemical compounds known as capsinoids found in a particular variety of chilli.
Now a Japanese food firm has submitted plans to the Food Standards Agency watchdog with the aim of adding it to chocolate bars, desserts and ready meals targeted towards slimmers.
The FSA has recently declared the extract safe.
It is now up to the European Commission to decide whether it can be sold.
If approved, products with DHC could appear on shelves very soon.
But dieticians have said that the effects of eating the foods would be minimal.
They claim that in reality, a person weighing 15 stone consuming the recommended portions of foods containing DHC would probably burn off only 50 extra calories a day – the equivalent of a digestive biscuit.
The manufacturer, Ajinomoto, plans to make the ingredient synthetically as only very small amounts can be derived from chilli peppers.
Up to 3mg would be added to a portion of food – the amount of extract found in ten chillis.
The firm insisted it was not trying to claim people would be able to lose weight simply by eating their food. It would have to be part of an overall healthy diet and active lifestyle to achieve results.
Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, said it was a 'very interesting idea'.
'But as ever, the proof is in the pudding,' he added.