Recently a curry-eating contest in Scotland resulted in the hospitalization of two people, after consuming bowls of “world’s hottest chili” Though a waiver was signed by all participants in the contest, an ambulance had to be called after contestant began profusely vomiting.
This event begs the question, just how dangerous is spicy food, and is it possible to consume enough of it to kill you?
Different studies over the years have yielded varying results about the benefits and dangers of consuming spicy food. Cayenne pepper has been proven to boost metabolism and aid in weight loss. However, consuming excessive amounts of cayenne peppers can inflame tissues and cause harm to the body.
In the 1980’s a study claimed that a 150-pound person could be killed from three pounds of extreme chili powder is consumed all at once. However this situation is unlikely to actually play out, because the body would expel the excessive heat and not allow so much to be consumed. This could play out through various symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pains and sweating (all exhibited by curry eating contestants).
Spicy foods have also been blamed for stomach ulcers, but experts claim that to be a myth as well. The reason spicy foods may cause discomfort is because is because they increase the secretion of stomach acids, causing irritation to the stomach acid wall and afflicting any open sores or slowing the healing process of an ulcer.
If ulcers are a recurring problem when eating spicy food then you should probably tone down your intake. All in all though, spicy food most likely cannot prove fatal because the body will reject the heat before getting to that point.