Adding a little spice to your food could be a way to help you burn a few extra calories every day. See how hot sauce could help with your weight loss.
How does hot sauce help you lose weight?
It boosts your metabolism: The secret is the ingredient capsaicin, which stimulates receptors in your mouth that create thermogenesis. That’s just a fancy word for what the cells in your body do to convert energy (food) into heat. Your body turns up the heat thanks to the capsaicin in hot sauce and begins to incinerate calories instead of storing them (usually as fat).
It suppresses your appetite: Studies have shown that capsaicin suppresses hunger and induces a feeling of fullness. It’s not quite known why, but you can reduce your appetite without having to resort to dangerous substances like ephedra (since banned in diet pills) that make you feel jittery and may even be dangerous.
It’s also true since spicy food is often eaten more slowly than blander food, you’ll be satisfied with less food in general. It takes 20 minutes for satiety signals from your full stomach to reach your brain; when you eat too fast, you don’t give those signals time to reach your brain and are suddenly overly full. Slowing down eating may indeed help you lose weight, and hot sauce can be important component of that. Regardless how the mechanism actually works, hot sauce makes it easy to cut calories without even trying.
It makes you thirsty: Unlike salt, hot sauce makes you thirsty not because of sodium (which can be unhealthy for you in excess amounts), but thanks to the presence of heat. If you’re drinking more water to alleviate the burn of the hot sauce, this, too, can make you feel fuller during the meal, causing you eat less.
It triggers the release of endorphins: The classic “hot sauce response” when you feel that mouth burning is actually a pain response. Eating hot sauce releases endorphins, which are your body’s natural opioids. (The release of endorphins here is similar to what happens when you exercise and experience the classic “athlete’s high.”)
Endorphins, as you might guess because of their opioid classification, are your body’s “feel-good hormones,” and are naturally released in times of stress. Some hot sauce “addicts” may find hot sauce so enjoyable because of this endorphin release, but this is one substance you can embrace with abandon. The only contraindications to using hot sauce are those with ulcers or other digestive difficulties for whom hot sauce would be contraindicated, and in rare cases, allergies.
If you want hot sauce’s effects without the discomfort
If the heat doesn’t bother you necessarily but you just don’t want hot sauce on your food, try hot sauce “teas,” or turn it down a notch and add some cooling foods along with the hot sauce to your next dish. Peaches, cucumber, and any cool green vegetable like cabbage will help reduce the hot sauce’s punch, so that you get the benefits without as much of the burn.