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+ - Can the Hottest Peppers in the World Kill You? 1

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Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Katharine Gammon writes that last week, the Kismot Indian restaurant in Edinburgh, Scotland, held a competition to eat the extra-hot Kismot Killer curry and several ambulances were called after some of the competitive eaters were left writhing on the floor in agony, vomiting and fainting. Paul Bosland, professor of horticulture at New Mexico State University and director of the Chile Pepper Institute, says that chili peppers can indeed cause death — but most people's bodies would falter long before they reached that point. "Theoretically, one could eat enough really hot chiles to kill you," says Bosland adding that a research study in 1980 calculated that three pounds of the hottest peppers in the world — something like the Bhut Jolokia — eaten all at once could kill a 150-pound person. Chili peppers cause the eater's insides to rev up activating the sympathetic nervous system — which helps control most of the body's internal organs — to expend more energy, so the body burns more calories when the same food is eaten with chili peppers. But tissue inflammation could explain why the contestants in the Killer Curry contest said they felt like chainsaws were ripping through their insides. As for the contest, restaurant owner Abdul Ali admitted the fiery dish may have been too spicy after the Scottish Ambulance Service warned him to review his event. ‘I think we’ll tone it down, but we’ll definitely do it next year.’"
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Can the Hottest Peppers in the World Kill You?

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