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Why the Hot Sauce Diet Should Burn in Hell

Updated on September 9, 2011

The Background

According to the official site, "The Hot Sauce Diet was created and successfully self-implemented by a physician. This behavioral modification approach is described with honest simplicity and an injection of humor."

But Dr. Spiro Antoniades is not a nutritionist. He is not a behavioral scientist. He is not even a family physician. Dr. Spiro Antoniades is an orthopedic spine surgeon in Baltimore, Maryland.

What, then, makes this man qualified to give the rest of us diet advice? He lost 70 lbs in 11 months with no equipment other than a bottle of hot sauce... and apparently, that makes him an expert.

Dr. Spiro Antoniades is his own (and only) proof of the efficacy of this "diet" plan.
Dr. Spiro Antoniades is his own (and only) proof of the efficacy of this "diet" plan.

The Equipment

The Plan

Along with an hour of exercise a day, Dr. Antoniades recommends a shot of hot sauce before every meal, and as needed to curb cravings. He claims the benefits of hot sauce in a diet program are three-fold:

  1. The active ingredient, capsaicin, is an appetite suppressant.
  2. Hot sauce will make you drink more water.
  3. The principles of averse conditioning will make your desire for food less, as you begin to associate eating with pain.

Teens Taking Hot Sauce Shots... Viewer Discretion Advised

The Problems

Right away, one can see several issues with this plan. Water does nothing to cut through the burn of spicy foods, as any curry- or chili-lover knows. Milk, bread, and rice are effective cures, and these foods all have calories.

Another issue is the actual act of downing the hot sauce itself. It seems more like a "Jackass" stunt than a long-term solution to weight management. A common reaction to a shot of hot sauce, as many an amature filmmaker on YouTube has discovered, is projectile vomitting.

Perhaps most concerning, however, is the effect such a disordered approach to eating has on the dieter's psychological health. Successful diet programs like French Women Don't Get Fat emphasize taking pleasure in eating, rather than surrounding meals with stress and anxiety, which only leads to more weight gain. Self-deprivation and punishment around food lead to eating disorders and depression, and I don't think Dr. Antoniades is prepared to take responsibility for that.

In fact, in an interview with the Hot Sauce Blog, Dr. Antoniades states that "Other than weight loss, I know of no known long term adverse effects." I'd respond that that's just the point; this man is in no way qualified to talk about weight loss or behavioral conditioning. He quite literally has no idea what he's messing with, namely: your physical and emotional health. Don't risk it.


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    • profile image

      Carmaleta Gonsalves 

      9 years ago

      I actually stumbled upon this article because I'm an avid dieter and decided to eat some hot sauce to see if it would subside my ravings, it did. Rather well actually. Though I do not suggest drinking hot sauce in place of coffee, or simply eating hot sauce as a meal, I do believe that a healthy dose of hot sauce before or during you meal (ex. with food) would be extremely beneficial. I however am slightly appalled at the attack on this poor surgeon. Like many others have stated being a surgeon does in fact qualify him to solidify his findings. Medical school focuses on 'GENERAL health' and the specialization of field doesn't come until later. That being said just because a doctor has recommend this, it doesn't mean its the magical weight loss cure. The fact of the matter is, is that there isn't one. Drinking hot sauce may suppress appetite and cravings, and increase metabolic and heart rates, but it wont make you skinny. The only thing standing between you and thinness is you.Good luck on your journey to a healthy body mind and soul


      - Carmaleta

    • profile image

      "Maddie Ruud" Personaly, I root for HOTSAUCE. 

      10 years ago

      "Maddie Ruud"

      Hotsauce increases your metabolism and heart rate, which in terms ends up burning calories, if applying hot sauce to your meals, you can lose twice as many more calories than the average person because of the 2 previously stated factors.

      Thus, hot sauce is indeed aids in the burning of calories....

      I love hot sauce...

      Hot sauce drinking should not be considered a diet, but merely an aid. Example as you said is that if you drink hot sauce people would aim to drink milk and other solvents to relief the pain.

      Not 100% true, If you're aiming to lose weight, you're most likely on water, which in this case you would be forced to drink MORE water with your spicy meal and thus reduce your hunger BECAUSE you've drank water.

      It's not considered depravation of food either, most hunger is actually confused by thirst, an nowadays people don't get enough water in their system and that gives them the aweful munchies. So hot sauce is a good H2O enforcer :)

      Bottom line Miss Ruud, the hot sauce is a good weight loss aid due to increased heart-rate/metabolism, but it's a crappy diet if you're eating burgers and fries with it thinking it'll MAGICALLY burn all that fat away.

      To "Melvin-Ng"

      You can drink 10 bottles of hot sauce each day and fail to loose weight due to poor nutrition and health in terms of excess calories and burning them.

      If you eat more calories than you burn, you get fat.

      Simple concept.

    • profile image

      Rey Chew 

      11 years ago

      I think as a spinal surgeon the doctor is qualified to at least understand how the body works and why what he did for weight loss worked. What I don't agree with is eating things to an extreme....everything has a balance and hot sauce or chili should be used as any oher herb is used with food.

      I ate hot sauce with most of my meals in China and I was cured of an ulcer and I could not gain weight even if I also helped that my diet consisted mainly of vegetables and complex carbs....and barely any sweets or sweet drinks.....

    • profile image

      another M.D. 

      11 years ago

      I know this article is old, but I just happened across it and it made me mad enough to comment. This guy is a MEDICAL DOCTOR, that's what makes him qualified. And I don't think he's preaching the mass proven benefits with a backup a scientific literature, he's merely sharing his experiences and what worked for him. What the hell is YOUR qualifications. This guy has a BS in undergrad, 4 years of medical school (graduating at the top of his class to be an ortho surgeon) and 6 or so years of residency in a hospital environment.

      I found this site because I recently started using hot sauce (which I love anyway) to curb my appetite and help lose weight. It's working for me. I Googled 'hot sauce diet' because I didn't know if other people had ever tried it. Guess they have and it works for them too.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      This is ridiculous. This man has gone to medical school and probably did his undergrad in biology or chemistry so I would say he knows a little more about nutrition then some moron with a BS in Nutrition. BTW all these humanities and joke of science majors out there like psychology, turf grass science and nutrition are a bunch of limp dicked idiots. Just because he was at the top of his medical school class so he went into surgical residency does not mean he did not do 4 years of general medical school!!! Idiot

    • profile image

      Scorpion Bay Hot Sauce 

      11 years ago

      There is some evidence that capsicum in hot sauce will help raise metabolic rates, but not enough to counterbalance calories taken in so it pretty much is a wash. So once again smart healthy eating habits usurp radical diet plans.

    • shareitt profile image


      11 years ago

      LOL I loved the title...dieting is such a pain, we must laugh at our selves :)

    • Suzie Parker profile image

      Suzie Parker 

      11 years ago

      Love your heading!

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      As someone who grew up in a country where everybody eats chillies (not hot sauce, but real hot chilli pepper, crushed, mixed with any food, eveb fruits) for the pleasure of eating, I find this hot sauce diet funny. It wouldn't sell in my country, because everybody's already doing it, and the taste of chilli gives them more appettite. Even McDonalds gives sachets of chilli sauce with ketchup in my country. And why should we associate eating with pain ? Very weird diet idea, I would say.

    • oscarmecp4 profile image


      12 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Well I've tried, grow, eat all the Mc Ilhenny products my favourite is Tabosco Habanero sauce and I figure out that it is a useful remedy for many sicknesses. It helps for flue, headache, libido, weight loss and many more. But it must be used with care, because to many spices could give you ulchers even if a little bit of Tabasco did help my friend to get relief from his ulchers.

      Thanks for the article Maddie.

    • profile image

      lerin miller 

      12 years ago

      I think the hot sauce diet is great. Its not for a meal replacement as you make it sound. Its just to curb those snack attacks between meals. And downing hot sauce is not that hard, and the water does help, you may have to drink more but that's the point. More water, less soda and other junk. I have been doing this for a while now and have seen great results. Although, this doctor did not come up with it, I have heard about this since I was little from older realitives. And have tried it before. I recommend eating all your daily meals in considerable portions and just using this to suppress snack cravings, but also needs daily exercise, I work out with resistance bands for only about 10 to 15 minutes a day. And have seen great results in a matter of weeks. The proof is in the pudding. The doctor isn't talking about weight loss, he is just simply saying we he used, and what works. And from the pictures, it does.

    • melvin-ng profile image


      13 years ago

      Over here in Asia, taking chillies is very much a huge part of our diet, but yet obesity still happens. I doubt spicy or hot sauces helps. You're right on point!

    • profile image

      Paula T. 

      13 years ago

      Hi Maddie;

      HAving studied weight-loss theories for years on my own, I am enjoying reading your reviews of various "diets". As for the hot sauce issue.......

      It has been proven in some medical studies that a small amount of hot sauce can help increase the metabolism, if used regularly. But everything I have read streses "small amounts", not taking shots.

      I applaud you pointing out the flaws in this "diet". It scares me to see how so many young people, obsesed with their looks grab the fastest and easiest sounding fad diet and run with it. A bit of research and common sense goes a long way after all.

      Drinking 5-7 glasses of water a day, walking for 20-30 minutes a day, and eating healthy can reduce your weight faster, with longer lasting results, than any of these fads.

      I just wish more people would try to take responsibility for their own lives and smarten up. I lost 50 pounds, and have kept it off for three years just by being sensible.

    • profile image


      13 years ago

      The water portion of this diet (I'd never heard of it until now) is meant to not quell the spicy flavour of the food but simply to provide hydration--the body reacts to spicy food the way it does to getting hot--it sweats to cool us down and thus we get thirsty. Mind you, I don't think anyone will be chugging hot sauce...spicy foods do help poke the metabolism up a little bit. But like all other "fixes" use it in combination with other good things.

    • profile image

      Mirek B Canada 

      13 years ago

      I enjoyed the reading of the Hot Sauce Diet.. as well as the colon cleanser products review.

      I have found this page while searching on colon cleansing as I have been experiencing some lower stomach pains (colon). Some believe that my pain might be brought on by the amount of Hot food I eat, but as I noticed the spicy food does not bring on any pain and seems not to have anything to do with my problem as removing the hot sauce from my diet has no effect.

      I would like to mention though that I crave hot sauce and it actually makes me feel good when I eat something spicey.. and like Erick mentioned the simplest food becomes the most enjoyable with some hot sauce and also keeps things regular if you know what I mean..

      I have wondered my self what effects hot sauce (spicy food) could have on metabolism, and general physical and mental health. I cant support Ericks statement on hot sauce helping with weight gain but at the same time I have been off work for last 4 years due to a major car accident and did not seem to gain that much weight even with very low physicall activity and the fact that I quit smoking..

      I have read in a health magazine which name I can not recall that the chilly peppers contain something that has an effect on the brain and affects the mood of an individual when consumed. Don't quote me on this but in my personal experience I feel great after eating something spicy.. maybe it's just me..

      I think a study on Hot Sauce and spicy food would be very interesting. As a Hot Sauce lover I would be very interested.. And after looking into colon cleansers I think the only one I need is my Hot Sauce..

      As for the different Hot Sauces there is so many that searching for new ones has almost became a hobby...


    • profile image


      13 years ago

      Hey Maddie,

      Thanks for sticking up for the rest of us. It's great you're doing the level of research that you are doing. Saves us a bunch of time. One thing I've learned, when people start to question what you are doing, then you are very likely to be on to something.! I've enjoyed your writings. Kudo's

    • Stacie Naczelnik profile image

      Stacie Naczelnik 

      13 years ago from Seattle

      I love hot sauce and it takes a lot to satisfy my need for spice. But, I know my limits. I know how spicy sauce can really tear up your stomach. I sincerely hope anyone who tries this "diet", doesn't end up with ulcers or something of the like.

    • Maddie Ruud profile imageAUTHOR

      Maddie Ruud 

      13 years ago from Oakland, CA

      "7 Months Later:"

      I did not, in fact, review the book. I reviewed the diet, not based on YouTube videos (which I simply used to illustrate my point) but based on my knowledge and study in the areas of health, weight loss, and psychology.

      And I see things differently: Dr Antoniades is the one "selling" something. I merely mean to call him on it.

      Thanks for reading.


    • profile image

      7 Months Later 

      13 years ago

      What I didn't get is how one could review this book without reading it. It becomes apparent that the book was reviewed here before it was actually read as the comments illustrate. Also noticed that while the good doc doesn't have much to support his theory, just his own experience, that the writer doesn't have anything to refute it except some random youtube video. That's what disturbs ME. The writer doesn't like the IDEA of the book and sells this opinion to the reader and the potential reader of the book. Anyway, this was 7 months ago, hatchet burried I suppose.

    • Maddie Ruud profile imageAUTHOR

      Maddie Ruud 

      14 years ago from Oakland, CA


      Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. I'm extremely interested in your "case study," since I hadn't thought about the implications of someone having a high tolerance for spice... interesting.

      I, personally, have nothing against hot sauce. I always have a bottle of sriracha handy... I merely meant to point out the lack of qualifications that Dr. Antoniades has in this area, as well as the unexamined ramifications on mental health. Negative reinforcement is a very dangerous thing to play with.

      I appreciate the response, Eric. And thanks for reading!



    • profile image


      14 years ago


      Thank you for your comments. I found your forum while searching for some information on Wu-Yi tea. Your thoughts were both well articulated and informative.

      I went on to check out some of your other links, out of curiosity, and found particular interest in this review of the "Hot Sauce Diet".

      While I found your thoughts humorous, and again articulate, I found myself in disagreement. While I haven't read the book mentioned, I am a lover of hot sauce. (Not particularly Tobasco) Now, please don't misunderstand, I'm not just writing in defense of hot sauce lovers, (though obviously I'm biased) but rather want to share an observation I have made.

      A few years ago, I decided I was consuming too much hot sauce, and thought "This can't be good for me." So I stopped. Within two months I had gained almost 20 pounds. When I resumed using hot sauce (mostly because I missed it) the weight dropped back off. Now, I thought it was coincidence, and maybe still is, but I had the same experience a year or two after that. (Only that time it was because I overdid it at a Thai restaurant and for a while became sick every time I had hot sauce. Oops!)

      Unlike some of the people you described, I can eat a tablespoon of Tobasco, and though it would be a bit sour, not experience any projectile vomiting or even a strong need to consume profuse amounts of water. (Yes I have done it on a dare from friends. They were sadly disappointed at the results.) So there's no "negative" reinforcement or stress conditioning. In fact it INCREASES my pleasure at meals.

      I've wondered if spicy foods increase the metabolism, somewhat like green tea, or just move things out of the body faster. (No "cleansers" neaded here, if you know what I mean.) But recently I've thought it might just be the ability to eat simpler more "plain" food. If you love hot sauce, a "plain" grilled chicken breast is just as tasty as a breaded and fried chicken breast with butter and olive oil... Well, ok, maybe not, but you get the idea.

      So, all this to say... I know I'm just one person, and surely don't represent a case study, but don't knock the hot sauce until you've tried it. Now if I had just thought of the stupid book idea first... Darn!

      Congratulations, Dr. Antoniades. As a hot sauce lover, I wish you luck, though I agree you've still just created another goofy fad diet. Eating less, and working more is the ONLY way to really lose weight and stay healthy.

      Thanks again, Maddie, and keep up the fun posts!

      - Eric

    • Maddie Ruud profile imageAUTHOR

      Maddie Ruud 

      14 years ago from Oakland, CA

      Doctor Antoniades:

      I apologize that the title of my article disturbed you. I meant it merely as an eye-catching play on words, not as a literally indictment. I am a strong advocate of free speech, but I also advise my readers to be wary of "quick fixes" or "diets" which are harmful to their mental or physical well-being.

      Negative reinforcement can very damaging to psychological health, especially around a subject as charged as food and/or weight loss. I point out that you have no firm evidence of the efficacy of this diet besides your own personal experience, and that the implications on the psyche are vast and unstudied.

      However, I am very willing to take you up on your offer, and read the book for myself, at which time I will write a follow-up: an in-depth book review, rather than simply an examination of the principals, as you have laid them out in the public media. I'd be happy to discuss this with you further. Please contact me through my profile page if you'd like to follow through with this.



    • profile image

      Spiro Antoniades 

      14 years ago

      Dear Ms. Ruud,

      I enjoyed reading your review on The Hot Sauce Diet. I appreciate the passionate response you demonstrate on the subject of dieting.

      The two of us have many differences. You are a young woman who resides on the west coast studying psychology and I am a middle-aged east-coast surgeon. I think you will be surprised that we have more in common than you would think. We both have suffered from personal struggles with an eating disorder and we both are passionate about our beliefs.

      The Hot Sauce Diet is my creation. The idea of someone wishing it (or any book) burned, especially in a place as inhospitable as hell itself, disturbs me.

      I appeal to your sense of social justice in asking if you would be interested in reading the Hot Sauce Diet for yourself. It’s more than a media moment. I would be happy to send it to you free of charge.


      Spiro Antoniades

    • spacebull profile image


      14 years ago from Space

      This is very useful for people who want to lose weight, thanks.


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