Carolina Reapers & Capsaicin Crystals: The Spiciest Foods I Eat for Fun
It Tastes Like Pure Agony
The Internet is filled with brave individuals attempting some of the spiciest challenges ever created. Whether it's the popular Paqui One Chip Challenge, or the brutal and aptly named Death Nut Challenge from Blazing Foods, there's no shortage of feats that push the limits of spiciness.
Those who film themselves doing these challenges are rewarded with thousands of views, and some even claim to enjoy the experience.
I attempted the One Chip Challenge myself, and I was completely unprepared for how much I would actually suffer. The pain in my mouth subsided after around thirty minutes, but I suffered from extreme stomach cramps hours after eating the chip. I can normally handle hot peppers quite well, but just how much hotter is the Carolina Reaper compared to more common peppers such as the Jalapeño?
As you can see from the above chart, Carolina Reaper is no where near the more common peppers that are normally found in everyday foods. It's actually very close to US Grade Police Pepper Spray. There's been reports of people being hospitalized after eating extremely spicy foods, but are extreme foods such as the Carolina Reaper actually dangerous?
The short answer is no. Most people will have no long term effects after consuming high levels of capsaicin. If you have a particularly sensitive stomach though, you may want to avoid them. There's also many things you can do to prevent getting stomach cramps. Some examples include eating lots of dairy before and after the hot pepper, since dairy directly counteracts the effects of capsaicin.
Milk is the best thing you can eat to stop the pain of spicy food. Water can actually make the pain worse, spreading the capsaicin more around your mouth. Eating bread can also absorb some of the pepper juices, further reducing the painful effects.
Why Do People Eat Extremely Spicy Food
I think there's a few reasons why people attempt these insane challenges.
Bragging Rights. You get to tell your friends that you can handle the heat, and did something that few others are even willing to attempt.
It's Not That Bad. Some people have developed a high tolerance to spicy foods. It's possible they were exposed to them at a young age, and have eaten progressively more hot foods until they don't even notice the heat that much.
Health Benefits. Cayenne and other spicy peppers have been shown to curb-appetite and increase your ability to burn calories. This means it can be very helpful for those trying to lose weight. Other health benefits include eliminating the growth of some bacteria, and clearing your sinuses.
I think it's inevitable that more spicy food challenges will continue to be created as long as the demand for them exists. The Carolina Reaper pepper was first created in 2013, so it's likely more peppers will also be created. There's theoretically no limit to how high the Scoville Unit of measurement can go, and many people will keep pushing the number higher. Who will be the next person to break the record for spiciest pepper? We'll just have to wait and find out.
The Spruce Eats has provided four simple hot and spicy recipes for you to make at home while you're waiting for the next spiciest pepper to be created.
- Buffalo Hot Wings
- Spicy Grilled Shrimp
- Sausage and Chicken Gumbo
- Spicy Sausage and Kale Soup
Spicy food challenges are growing in popularity every day, and people all around the world are attempting them, pushing their bodies to the limit of physical pain. It turns out these challenges are relatively safe for most people, so have fun trying them!
If extreme spice isn't really your thing, it's perfectly fine to stick to some more mild and enjoyable alternatives.