Like many foodies out there, we’re always looking for little ways to stymie the onslaught of love handles that comes with our chosen pastime/profession. We’d rather not join the charmingly dubbed Fat Pack. So this headline in the Hot Sauce blog was eye-catching: “Eat hot sauce, lose weight?” Hey, could there really be some kind of slimming magic in that little bottle of capsaicin we love so much?
Yes, it turns out, but it is a terrifying and black magic. In addition to simple appetite suppression and encouraging water consumption, part of the “hot sauce diet” includes Pavlovian-style conditioning:
Hot sauce is toxic and can make your face flush and feel uncomfortable. This discomfort creates a situation of aversive conditioning.
So this ticket to weight-loss is by making food consumption a torturous experience? No, thank you. As much as we love the spicy stuff, we have no interest in ruining our food just to shed a few pounds.
However, part of the plan seems like a stroke of genius. We all get periods of near-uncontrollable hunger, where some outside help seems necessary to supplement the will-power. For us, it’s late at night, for Dr. Spiro Antoniades, who developed this hot-sauce weight-loss method, it was right after work, when he would gorge before the family dinner.
Antoniades employed his “pushback” — one teaspoon of hot sauce in a glass of tomato juice — to calm his appetite, pique his thirst and cause him to drink water. He found that, by using his pushback, he was able to eat dinner normally.
Now that seems like an effective use of a potentially uncomfortable tool. We’d prefer to keep our taste-buds, as well as our waistline, intact, but the occasional use of hot-sauce instead of some chemical appetite suppressant seems like a pretty effective way to do both.