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The "Hot Sauce Diet"

5:07 PM, Jan 25, 2007   |    comments
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Is something ailing you? It might be time to hit the sauce, the 'hot' sauce. Dr. Spiro Antoniades is a runner, but he didn't always have a runner's body. Last year he weighed 265 pounds. He decided to make himself suffer for eating the wrong things. Before every meal, he downed a shot of hot sauce. Dr. Antoniades says "It kind of slows me down, shocks me a little bit and it makes me drink some Water and calms down my abnormal appetites." Dr. Antoniades is now seventy pounds lighter. He's an Orthopedic Surgeon who shares his hot sauce diet with other doctors. While it has no real science behind it, some think it works by tricking the mind. If you have a dose of hot sauce every time you eat junk food, you'll avoid the junk food to avoid the pain. Clifford Woolf, MGH Harvard says, "One of the major features of pain, is to learn to avoid danger, and by taking a swig of Tabasco you are switching on the avoidance mechanism." Researchers say a chemical in hot peppers causes that burning sensation. It's called capsaicin (cap-say-sin). They already know it can lower blood pressure, cholesterol, even fight some cancers. Now they've found that the burning sensation of arthritis is like the discomfort you feel after eating chili peppers. Those similarities could help scientists zero in on what really causes arthritic pain and lead to the development of better painkillers. Woolf says, "The current analgesics in many patients do not actually reduce their pain, and the other is that many of them have excessive side effects. And scientists are studying more hot stuff, like Wasabi and Hot Mustard, to see how those might also unravel the puzzle of pain. As for Dr. Antonadies, he thinks he's solved his weight problem, a dose of hot sauce, a little pain, and no weight gain. Capsaicin is already being used in topical creams to ease pain because it causes a heat when spread on the surface of the skin that can modify the pain like putting a heating pad on an ache. But this is the first time; scientists are looking at capsaicin as a model for pain, instead of a remedy

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN

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