You’ve probably heard somewhere that hot sauce boosts your metabolism. Is this just another one of those internet myths, or is there some truth to it? We’ll cut to the chase: it’s true! And we’ll prove it with a little bit of spicy science.
Burn, Baby, Burn!
So, what exactly is a metabolism, and why do people blame their weight gain on it? Your metabolism is simply a way of describing how many calories your body burns in one day. Tons of factors contribute to your metabolic rate: your genetics, gender, age, height, weight, level of physical activity, as well as how much heat you produce. And to further complicate matters, your metabolism can fluctuate day to day. The more calories you burn, the more weight you lose.
Turn the Heat Around
Capsaicin is the active component of a chili pepper--the component that led directly to the invention of salsa dancing (okay, that second part probably isn’t true). Spicy foods literally excite nerve receptors in your skin, causing your temperature to rise, turning your skin red, and breaking you out into a healthy spice sweat. This leads to a higher rate of calorie burn.
Feel the Burn
How does an 8% metabolic rate increase sound? Food containing capsaicin, like red chili peppers, may give you that boost. This effect lasts hours after you’ve spiced up your life. Additionally, capsaicin has been shown to increase fat oxidation rates. Capsaicin also works as a blood thinner, which reduces the risk of blood clots and helps circulation. Increased metabolism, fat-burning, better circulation, weight loss--what’s not to like?
If you can handle the heat, the sweltering sensation from eating hot sauce really does boost your metabolism and help you lose weight, although we don’t recommend you drink it directly from the bottle; pour a little (or a lot) on your tacos, scrambled eggs, or even mac and cheese (it’s amazing) for a head start on your next calorie burn.