Lately, there has been a lot of talk and trends about spicy food challenges. The hot sauce market is booming and people are constantly challenging themselves to see how much spice they can handle. With recent trends ranging from TikTok pepper-eating contests to “extreme” items on restaurant menus that require diners to sign liability waivers, one has to wonder: is consuming extremely hot foods like this bad for your health?
Let’s talk about spicy food challenges, how they work, and everything else you may want to know!
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What Is a Spicy Food Challenge and How Do They Work?
If you’re a fan of spicy food, you’ve probably seen videos of people taking on the challenge of eating an incredibly hot pepper or dish. But what exactly is a spicy food challenge? And how do they work?
Basically, a spicy food challenge is when someone eats something that is very spicy in an attempt to see how long they can last before taking a drink. The challenges can be done alone or with other people, and they can be timed or not. There are even some challenges where the goal is to eat as much as possible in a certain amount of time.
As for how they work, it’s pretty simple. Someone eats something extremely spicy and then tries to hold on for dear life. That’s it!
The pain from the spice can be intense, but it usually only lasts for a minute or two (However, there are others that can last closer to an hour depending on what was consumed). After that, the pain subsides and you’re left with an intense rush of endorphins.
Are Their Risks When Participating in a Spicy Food Challenge?
Before you dive in headfirst into the first spicy food challenge you see, it’s important to understand the risks involved.
For starters, eating large amounts of spicy food can cause gastrointestinal distress, including heartburn, and indigestion, and even cause the runs.
Additionally, the capsaicin in chili peppers can irritate your skin and eyes. Capsaicin is what makes chili peppers extremely hot, so the more capsaicin that is in something, the hotter it’s going to be! So while a spice challenge can be a fun way to test your limits, it’s important to proceed with caution. Otherwise, you could end up with some gastrointestinal problems.
With that being said, for most healthy people, participating in those “extreme” spicy challenges does not pose any serious or lasting dangers to your health.
Are There Any Benefits to Participating in a Spicy Food Challenge Other Than Bragging Rights?
Sure, participating in a spicy food challenge may give you bragging rights amongst your friends and on social media. But are there any other benefits to downing a plate of extremely hot wings or eating the hottest chip in the world? As it turns out, there may be more to it than meets the eye.
For one, consuming spicy foods can actually help to boost your metabolism. That’s because the capsaicin in chili peppers helps to increase your body temperature, which in turn causes your body to burn more calories.
Spicy foods can also help to clear out your sinuses and relieve congestion. That’s because capsaicin helps to stimulate secretions that can thin mucus and provide relief from allergy symptoms.
We’re not necessarily saying that a spicy food challenge is healthy for you, however, consuming normal spicy foods and chili peppers does have a couple of health benefits.
How Can You Prepare Yourself for a Spicy Food Challenge?
If you’re interested in trying a spicy food challenge, the best way to prepare is by gradually working your way up to it. Don’t go from eating mild chili peppers to eating the hottest pepper in the world in one day. Start off slow with something like jalapenos and then work your way up to habaneros and ghost peppers.
Additionally, it’s important to make sure that you’re staying hydrated throughout the day. Drinking plenty of water will help to keep your body temperature down and prevent gastrointestinal distress.
Make sure you have some food in your stomach ahead of time. You don’t want to try eating something extremely hot and not have anything already in your stomach.
There are some people who have done challenges before and claim that eating pure sticks of butter or cheese can help right before a challenge. Supposedly, the saturated fat can help absorb the savagery that was just unleashed inside of your stomach. Lastly, there have also been people claiming that yogurt can help soften the pain, as well.
Are There Any Specific Types of Spicy Foods That Are Better or Worse for You When It Comes to Challenges?
Although there is no information comparing spicy food challenges and which ones may be worse or better for you, you can imagine that the hotter the food is, the more your body will react.
Which goes back to what we mentioned about building up your tolerance, as different chili peppers have different heat levels. For example, something like a Carolina Reaper pepper is going to be much hotter and more difficult to eat than, say, a jalapeno. This is because the Carolina Reaper pepper clocks in at around 2.2 million Scoville heat units, whereas a jalapeno is only about 10,000 Scoville heat units.
So you can somewhat judge how hot something may be (if it was made with chili peppers) based on the Scoville Sale.
What Should You Do if You Experience Adverse Effects From Eating Spicy Foods During or After a Challenge Attempt Gone Wrong?
If you find that you’re struggling to eat spicy food during the challenge or if you start having adverse effects afterward, it’s important to stay calm and drink lots of fluids. Milk is a good choice as it can help to neutralize the capsaicin. Water isn’t going to do much.
You should also avoid drinking alcohol as it will only make the pain worse. If you’re really struggling, you can try taking something such as Tums, Pepto-Bismol, or Alka Seltzer.
Lastly, make sure to wash your hands right after handling anything spicy and avoid touching your face. If you get the capsaicin residue on your hands or anywhere else on your body, it could burn for a while!
What Are Some Spicy Food Challenges to Try
There are several spicy food challenges out there and we’ll continue to see more appear as they are becoming more and more popular, especially with the explosion of social media platforms such as TikTok.
Here are just a few of the most popular ones:
The One Chip Challenge
Paqui, a tortilla chip company, started the One Chip Challenge social media craze. They sell miniature containers, each with only one very spicy chip and the label reading “One Chip Challenge”.
The 2021 One Chip Challenge was a red chip, and this year’s challenge is the blue Paqui chip! The goal is to see how long you can last after eating the hottest chip in the world before drinking anything else.
Flamin Hot Cheetos Challenge
This one is pretty self-explanatory. The challenge is to see how many Flamin’ Hot Cheetos you can eat in one sitting. These things are crazy spicy and not for the faint of heart!
However, they aren’t nearly as blazin as the one chip we mentioned from Paqui. You can also perform this challenge in a number of ways as Cheetos have several hot versions such as their regular Hot, Lime Hot, and Extreme Hot.
The Ghost Pepper Challenge Or Carolina Reaper Challenge
There are several variations of this challenge, but the basic premise is to eat a chili pepper (either Hhost pepper or Carolina Reaper pepper), which are some of the hottest chili peppers in the world. This is definitely not for beginners!
As we said, these are just a few and we continue to see new ones pop up on social media all the time! Maybe you’ll start the next trend with #spicyfoodchallenge.
Where to Get The Spiciest Foods & Sauces in the World
If you’re looking for some of the spiciest foods and sauces in the world to try out a challenge, just to test your limits, or to start your own challenge, you can find plenty of extremely hot options out there!
Mikey V’s hot sauce store contains plenty of spicy food options! There you can find:
- The 2021 Paqui One Chip Challenge
- The World’s Hottest Pickles
- Loco Gater Toes (Deep fried garlic made with extremely hot peppers)
As well as many other spicy food options and hot sauces!
Eating Spicy Food Challenges
So, there you have it – everything you need to know about spicy food challenges. Are you brave enough to try one? Have fun and be safe while eating insanely spicy foods!