A 2013 episode of the Dr. Oz show included a claim that eating sriracha hot sauce can boost your metabolism and help reduce belly fat. Today we’ll take a look at this claim.
About Sriracha Hot Sauce
Sriracha (pronounced see-rah-chah) is a popular Asian hot chili sauce named after the port city of Sri Racha in Eastern Thailand. The sauce is made from a mixture of chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. It is also known as “rooster sauce.”
Featured on Dr. Oz show
On a Dr. Oz episode which aired on November 7, 2013, the celebrity doctor discussed “Belly Fat Myths” where he suggested the use of Sriracha sauce to help speed up metabolism and reduce belly fat.
“…a combination of about 20… a bunch of different spices, but it affects about 20 different fat-burning chemicals in your body.”
Dr. Oz claimed that sriracha sauce will speed up your metabolism for about 30 minutes after consuming it. He suggested having it with breakfast or adding it to popcorn.
A graphic on the show displayed the following bullet points:
- Add sriracha hot sauce to meals
- $6 per bottle, grocery stores
Health Benefits of Sriracha Sauce
The beneficial ingredients of sriracha sauce are contained in the chili peppers and garlic. Peppers contain capsaicin, which is believed to contain metabolism-increasing and some appetite suppressing properties. A WebMD page on the benefits of eating peppers contains the following quote:
Found in hot peppers (including chilis and cayenne powder), capsaicin has been shown to boost metabolism as well as suppress appetite, at least slightly. Over time, this effect might give you an extra edge when it comes to weight loss. But it won’t melt the pounds away.
Research shows that people who don’t typically eat spicy foods are most likely to benefit from turning the heat up a notch. Capsaicin seems to affect metabolism by raising body temperature, which uses up more energy.
This compound gives peppers a hot sensation when eaten. Some researchers believe the health benefits of capsaicin include increased metabolism, decreased weight gain (as opposed to weight loss), and possibly anti-cancer properties. Topical creams and patches containing capsaicin for pain relief are common.
Dr. David Heber told WebMD that he and his colleagues at University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) studied a synthetic compound similar to capsaicin and found that obese patients only burned an extra 100-200 calories per day.
It’s a modest effect, similar to that of green tea or caffeine, says Heber, but adding peppers to your diet can’t hurt your weight loss efforts. And, although he says he doesn’t want to “oversell it,” Heber says this metabolic boost might help over time, especially when combined with peppers’ proven ability to dampen appetite during meals.
The article summarizes that “capsaicin is not a weight loss wonder.”
Keep in mind that one pound of fat is approximately 3500 calories, so burning an extra 100-200 per day via capsaicin is not a comprehensive weight loss solution.
The garlic contained in sriracha hot sauce also has been associated with some weight loss benefits.
How Stuff Works states, “When it comes to weight loss, garlic appears to be a miracle food. It contains the compound allicin which has anti-bacterial effects and helps reduce unhealthy fats and cholesterol.”
Sriracha hot sauce does appear to be a somewhat beneficial addition to a weight loss regimen, due to the ingredients capsaicin and garlic. However, weight loss due to eating Sriracha is limited and should not be considered a far-reaching solution to losing weight. The most effective and healthy way to lose weight is eating a proper diet combined with regular exercise.
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Updated January 14, 2015
Originally published November 2013