Thursday, October 11, 2007

Lose Weight with Hot Sauce?

Many of us could stand to lose a few pounds, but the trouble with diets is that we end up depriving ourselves of our favorite foods. That might work for a while, until the cravings become too strong, at which point we succumb to temptation and overindulge, and then throw in the towel on weight loss. Or if we manage to lose some weight over the course of an 8 week fad diet (or however long the latest craze is), we eventually discover that the weight creeps back on when we go back to our regular eating patterns. And if you are a foodie, a gourmet cook, someone who works with food for a living, or someone who just enjoys eating well, it can seem nearly impossible to lose weight. That's the bad news.

The good news is that the right hot sauce, barbecue sauce, dry rub/seasoning or salsa can help the pounds come off by transforming boring diet food into trim treats for your taste buds! No, I'm not starting a new "hot sauce diet", but it is true that virtually all hot sauces are fat-free and most have 0 or very few calories and carbs. The same is true of nearly all eastern NC style (vinegar based) barbeque sauces such as Wells Hog Heaven and Scott's BBQ Sauce. A pleasantly piquant sauce or seasoning can liven up bland "diet" dishes like steamed veggies and poached fish, or subsitute for sugar-laden store-brand ketchup or BBQ sauce. In fact, many successful dieters swear by Capsicana Zing Gourmet Sauce as their new condiment of choice because of its enticing flavor and guilt-free nutritional profile. You can also use salsa (almost always fat-free) to replace heavier sauces on meat, chicken and even fish dishes. I love salsa on a baked potato instead of butter or sour cream. One of my favorite ways to dress up steamed broccoli, microwaved vegetables or even a simple salad is to sprinkle on a tasty and not-too-salty spice blend like Nando's Lemon & Herb Peri-Peri Grinder, squeeze the juice of half a lemon or lime over the food, and toss to blend (if you really must have some oil, then lightly drizzle just a touch of full-flavored extra-virgin olive oil). And if you are on a low-carb diet, we have many low-carb products to help you stay on course without sacrificing great flavor.

Now back to hot sauce. There are anecdotal reports of hot sauce and spicy foods leading to weight loss, possibly by revving up one's metabolism. I have no idea if hot sauce or hot peppers cause weight loss or speed up your metabolism. Maybe it's just that most folks don't eat as much if a food is really, really fiery hot. Or maybe it's because people are more likely to drink more water while eating very spicy food, and the water creates a "full" feeling sooner. But speaking from my personal experience, I do tend to feel full and satisfied sooner (and therefore eat less) when my food is spiked with a really good-tasting, seriously hot hot sauce or salsa. Additionally, I experience an "endorphin rush" effect when I eat very hot food: my heart rate speeds up and I feel a pleasant, energetic buzz (is that my metabolism speeding up? And is that why a popular ultra-hot hot sauce is called "Endorphin Rush"?). So if you have some pounds to lose, why not try spicing up your food with a hot sauce or salsa of your choice, adding zest to your cooking with a fat-free and flavorful dry rub or seasoning, and switching to vinegar-based barbecue sauce for your meats and chicken? Who knows: you may develop the next big diet craze, the "zesty eating" diet!

Zestfully yours,

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