Craving a food is a lot like having a song stuck in your head — it absolutely consumes you. 

Thankfully, unlike having a song stuck in your head, you can usually satisfy a food craving. But what causes food cravings? Specifically, you may ask yourself, why am I craving hot sauce? 

There isn’t one answer to why you’re craving hot sauce, but there could be a few things behind your need for heat. Here are just a few of those. 

You’re Hot!

This might seem counter-intuitive, but you might be craving hot sauce because you’re already hot. According to studies, spicy and hot food could be your body’s answer to high internal temperatures

So, what exactly is going on here? The scientific answer is thermogenesis, which is how cells convert energy into heat. It’s also how hibernating animals stay warm. What does this have to do with hot sauce? In a word, capsaicin. 

Capsaicin is what makes chili peppers hot, and it can induce thermogenesis! Basically, eating hot sauce or something with capsaicin will boost your metabolism, make you sweat, turn your face red, and cool you down. 

You’re Pregnant!

Apparently, it’s pretty common for pregnant women to crave spicy foods like chili peppers and hot sauce. In fact, a survey conducted by Baby Center showed that 17% of pregnant women crave spicy food

Of course, pregnant women have a lot of cravings, from the standard pickles and ice cream to cravings that signal vitamin deficiencies like ice and dirt. Thankfully, hot sauce isn’t as serious a signal as Pica, but it does have something to do with a physical need. 

If you’ve ever been pregnant during the summer (or know someone who was), you know that pregnant women are constantly hot. And, as you’ve just read, eating hot foods can cool you down! If you eat spicy foods, you probably sweat, which cools you down. 

There’s also the idea that spicy food boosts your immune system. To begin with, hot foods are good for the lungs, helping it flush out mucus and bacteria that could turn into issues that could harm the fetus. Spicy food is also good for your blood pressure, and can just generally boost your endorphins and mood — both positive things to pregnant women and the people around the. 

An aside for an old wives’ tale, there are people who believe that craving hot sauce means you’re having a boy, but we wouldn’t lend too much to that. 

If you are pregnant and craving hot sauce, go for it! Hot stuff is absolutely safe for pregnant women, but having too much can cause some digestive distress, heartburn, and hemorrhoids if you really overdo it. Then again, from salty to sweet, most cravings have their health risks. 

Speaking of salty and sweet, if you’re trying to limit your sodium and sugar, be sure to check your hot sauce labels. Some hot sauces (not including Secret Aardvark) are absolutely loaded with salt and sugar. 

You’re Congested

We’re guessing you already knew this, but spicy food can clear your sinuses straight out if you’re congested! Generally this is more true with a horseradish type of heat or spice vs. a capsaicin-loaded hot sauce, but many find the effect to be the same. 

That being said, if you have a head cold that comes with a sore throat, keep in mind that spicy food can further irritate your throat. But hey, if it’s what makes you feel better, go for it! 

You’re Feeling Sluggish or Blue

We truly believe that hot sauce makes you happy. Not just because it tastes great, but because of science!

Long story short, the capsaicin in hot sauce makes your mouth hurt. No, seriously, it does. Basically, when you eat hot sauce, the pain receptors in the mouth are triggered, and they tell your brain that you’re in pain. The brain, not understanding that your mouth isn’t literally on fire, sends endorphins to counteract the perceived pain. 

So, what happens when you have a flood of endorphins, but no actual pain? You feel happy! You get a super fun (in our opinion) feeling that can give you a fist-pumping rush or just make you feel nice and chill. 

The Bottom Line

There are a lot of reasons you could be craving hot sauce. Thankfully, none of them are signals of serious medical issues (an example of that would be craving ice to chew, which can be a sign of low iron). 

Whether you’re hot, pregnant, stuffed up, or a little down, spicy food can give you the boost you need to feel a little better. 

Of course, there’s a chance that you’re craving hot sauce because you just plain like it! We’ve talked to plenty of people who say that after they started using hot sauce, everything without it tastes bland! 

If you’re worried about your constant hot sauce cravings, we have some good news. Unlike chemicals like alcohol and caffeine, hot sauce isn’t chemically addictive. So while you might not like your food as much without an extra kick in the mouth, it’s not an actual chemical dependency that can cause withdrawals and other negative symptoms. 

That being said, if you’re craving hot sauce, go for it!