Can Spicy Food Kill You?

Theoretically, those chile peppers can mean death

After that "killer" curry-eating contest that sent two contestants to the hospital, we've been wary of trying any peppers too spicy. MSNBC must have felt the same; they asked horticulture expert Paul Bosland whether spice can kill.

The answer? Theoretically, yes. Physically? Probably not.

"A research study in 1980 calculated that three pounds of extreme chiles in powder form — of something like the Bhut Jolokia — eaten all at once could kill a 150-pound person," Bosland told MSNBC. Luckily, your body will stop you via tissue inflamation, heart burns, and extreme pain before you reach that level.

So if you're feeling a little adventurous, check out our guide to chiles. But be careful.

The Daily Byte is a regular column dedicated to covering interesting food news and trends across the country. Click here for previous columns.

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rdahlquist's picture

Fifty years ago, friends of mine in Mexico and in Argentina alike told me that spicy peppers prevent stomach cancers. a fact which, according to them is borne out statistically. May or may not be true, but I thought it interesting that both friends maintained this opinion independent of one another. Is there any scientific study out there that would corroborate their opinions?

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