The Rising Popularity of Spicy Food Challenges
Hey, everyone - Cherish, here! And I hope you have your sunscreen on because it’s about to get hot! That’s because today's article is all about the rising popularity of spicy food challenges. Spicy challenges have become very versatile as of late; what once started as being mostly in the form of peppers or saucy hot wings can now be found in the form of a chip, peanut butter, popcorn, nuts, and yes, even chocolate.
Hot foods and peppers have always been highly sought after. The Scoville Heat Unit Scale was developed by Wilbur L. Scoville in 1912 and measures the amount of capsaicin in chili peppers.
The Scoville Scale can rate a product from zero SHU (which means there is no heat at all) to SHU’s all the way to 16 million, at least when it comes to capsaicin. There is, however, another bio-molecule that exists called Resiniferatoxin, which is 1,000 times hotter than capsaicin and scores at 16 BILLION Scoville Heat Units.
You’d do well to steer clear of this chemical, though. Eating even just one gram could cause serious internal burns, and possibly even death. Now I’m pretty tough when it comes to spicy challenges (earning myself nicknames such as Fire & Ice and the Spice Queen from some of my fellow competitive eaters), but I think I’ll just stick to the capsaicin for now!
With the age of social media and the Internet, spicy challenges have grown in popularity, largely due to the amount of people who like to watch others suffer. (Am I right?!) Honestly, some of my most viewed videos are the ones where I’m doing spicy challenges, usually with a few of my good friends.
Some of the spicy challenges I’ve taken on include the Paqui One Chip Challenge (both the 2021 and 2022 versions), the Nitro Gummy Bear (I did 2 of those!), the Death Nut 2.0 challenge, a spicy pizza challenge, and most recently, the Arby’s Diablo Dare challenge. I've also completed all of the Buffalo Wild Wings, Wings Etc., and Quaker Steak & Lube’s spicy wing challenges. (Plus quite a few more at various other restaurants.)
Although that sounds like a lot, that’s just the tip of the iceberg! There are so many more to try that range different in levels of spiciness, including the Tube of Terror or the Mother of All Chocolate Bars (MOAB) challenge.
If you want to try any of these, most of them can be found with a simple Google search.
But why would anyone want to subject themselves to this type of pain, you ask? Some scientific studies have suggested that when people go through extreme challenges together, it promotes bonding. Spicy foods also give some people an endorphin rush because they like how it makes them feel emotionally. And, of course, some people just plain old enjoy all things spicy!
Are you wondering if these challenges are more harmful than healthy? They can actually be a little bit of both! Some studies have shown that health benefits can include (over time) a longer lifespan, lower cholesterol, stomach health, and weight loss, just to name a few. Long-term damage can include health problems such as stomach ulcers, acid reflux, and celiac disease. However, those cases are few and far between, and the general consensus amongst professionals is that eating insanely spicy foods does not pose any serious or lasting damage to one’s health.
So what are you waiting for?! If you haven’t started your journey with spicy food challenges yet, what better time than now to begin testing your pain tolerance and increasing your mental toughness? I promise you won’t regret it. (Well, at least until the morning after.)
Until next time!
DISCLAIMER: The content and challenges listed in this article are for informational purposes only. Do your own research and exercise caution if you are thinking about attempting a food challenge or eating contest (including spicy food challenges and eating contests). It is at your own risk.