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Can the Hottest Peppers In the World Kill You? 337

Hugh Pickens 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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  • by starmonkey ( 2486412 ) on Monday October 17, 2011 @11:30AM (#37739664)
    eating them is only half the battle
  • by Zarjazz ( 36278 ) on Monday October 17, 2011 @11:34AM (#37739718)

    .. to the soundtrack of Jonny Cash singing "Ring of Fire"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 17, 2011 @12:08PM (#37740280)

    For those of you who have lived in Texas, you know how true this is. They actually have a Chili cook-off about the time the rodeo comes to town. It takes up a major portion of the parking lot at the Astrodome.The notes are from an inexperienced chili taster named Frank, who was visiting Texas from the East Coast:
    "Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a chili cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge's table asking directions to the Budweiser truck, when the call came in. I was assured by the other two judges (Native Texans) that the chili wouldn't be all that spicy and, besides, They told me I could have free beer during the tasting, So I accepted."Here are the scorecards from the event:
    Chili # 1 Mike's Maniac Mobster Monster Chili
    Judge # 1-- A little too heavy on the tomato. Amusing kick.
    Judge # 2-- Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild
    Judge # 3-- (Frank) Holy shit, what the hell is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me
    two beers to put the flames out. I hope that's the worst one. These Texans are crazy.
    Chili # 2 Arthur's Afterburner Chili
    Judge # 1 -- Smoky, with a hint of pork. Slight jalapeno tang.
    Judge # 2 -- Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.
    Judge # 3 -- Keep this out of the reach of children. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave
    off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to rush in more beer when they saw
    the look on my face.
    Chili # 3 Fred's Famous Burn Down the Barn Chili
    Judge # 1 -- Excellent firehouse chili. Great kick. Needs more beans.
    Judge # 2 -- A bean-less chili, a bit salty, good use of peppers
    Judge # 3 -- Call the EPA. I've located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows
    the routine by now. Get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back, now my backbone
    is in the front part of my chest. I'm getting shit-faced from all of the beer.
    Chili # 4 Bubba's Black Magic
    Judge # 1 -- Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.
    Judge # 2 -- Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.
    Judge # 3 -- I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out taste buds?
    Sally, the barmaid, was standing behind me with fresh refills. That 300-lb.bitch is starting to look HOT -- just
    like this nuclear waste I'm eating. Is chili an aphrodisiac?
    Chili # 5 Linda's Legal Lip Remover
    Judge # 1 -- Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive.
    Judge # 2 -- Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.
    Judge # 3 -- My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted and four
    people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had
    given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from the pitcher.
    I wonder if I'm burning my lips off. It really pisses me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming.
    Screw those rednecks.
    Chili # 6 Vera's Very Vegetarian Variety
    Judge # 1 -- Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spices and peppers.
    Judge # 2 -- The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, and garlic. Superb.
    Judge # 3 -- My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. I shit on myself when I farted and I'm
    worried it will eat through the chair. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except that slut Sally. She
    must be kinkier than I thought. Can't feel my lips anymore. I need to wipe my ass with a snow cone.
    Chili # 7 Susan's Screaming Sensation Chili
    Judge # 1 -- A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers
    . Judge # 2 -- Ho hum, t

  • What the hell is a blister agent?

    well, for the purposes of this thread, a blister agent is anything that can neutralize capsaicin, which is the substance in chili peppers that gives them their characteristic "heat." I use good ol' NaHCO3, aka bicarb, in chile eating contests, because I can suspend a decent concentration in my beer before an impromptu chili eating contest, and take a swig every couple of bites. Works like a charm, honestly. Even in more formally proctored contests, I down 60g dissolved in 500ml of water before I even head to the venue. I regurgitate it surreptitiously while downing the hot wings, or peppers, or whatever capsaicin-bearing food is the object of the contest. Pretending to struggle to swallow the food because of the heat is all the cover I usually need while inducing my own gag reflex. I've been caught out a couple of times, usually by pre-med students or their MD parents, but hey, you can't fool all of the people all of the time... :)

Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.