What Happens To Your Body When You Eat Too Much Hot Sauce

Putting hot sauce on your food is a great way to add flavor to your meal and really crank up the heat — but what exactly happens to your body when you eat too much? For one thing, eating too much hot sauce can stimulate the pain receptors on your tongue, making you feel like you're tongue is on fire (via Eat This, Not That). This is largely due to the presence of capsaicin in hot sauce.

Capsaicin is the active component in chili peppers and other hot peppers that gives them their spicy kick. "When we eat hot sauce, the capsaicin hits the neurotransmitters on our tongue and sends pain signals to the brain," registered dietician Maryann Walsh told Eat This, Not That. "The spiciness we experience is only a perception that our tongue is burning when in reality our taste buds are unharmed."

Using too much hot sauce can also raise your core body temperature. That's because capsaicin can stimulate a process known as thermogenesis, which generates heat production in warm-blooded organisms. This process can temporarily speed up your metabolism and increase your internal body temperature, resulting in sweating, rapid breathing, and increased saliva and mucus production.

How much hot sauce is too much?

As it turns out, there is such a thing as too much hot sauce. No matter how much you enjoy adding hot sauce to your food, everyone has a limit (via Women's Health). There's only so much spiciness a person can handle after all. Although there isn't exactly a maximum threshold, most people only consume one to two teaspoons at a time.

Just one teaspoon of hot sauce, however, contains around 190 milligrams of sodium, compared to the daily recommended intake of 2,300 milligrams of sodium. Depending on how much hot sauce you use, this can really add up, especially if you don't measure out the exact amount you're putting on your food.

That's why it's important to be mindful of how much hot sauce you're using and how it's affecting your body. "We don't have definite safe amounts set, so it's hard to set a limit," Tara Collingwood, a registered dietician nutritionist and team dietician for the Orlando Magic, told Women's Health. "If you like it and don't have any major side effects, enjoy it in moderation. Too much of anything is not good!"