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April 03, 2003

Hot pepper consumption

? for readers-does anyone know of negative consequences for eating 3-4 whole habaneros a day? That's kind of been my standard for a few months now, and basically whenever the local supermarket has good ones in stock. The only other pepper that I have access to right now that gives me any zing is cayenne. Anyway, just wondering if perhaps I'm not damaging myself somehow....

Posted by razib at 02:45 PM


Posted by: jim at April 3, 2003 05:27 PM

Watch out for the "Ring of Fire".

Posted by: the alpha male at April 3, 2003 10:40 PM

I am crazy about peppers too... though I could never manage 3-4 haberneros a day...

Hell, I've cooked with haberneros only once in my life... and I used about half a habernero for about 2 cups of rice, and i couldn't eat it... it was too hot for me...

I consume a lot of cayenne and dried thai chillies (they're pretty damn hot)... and was quite concerned about the health effects too... you may be aware that japan and china have an incredibly high rate of stomach cancer... there has been some speculation that it may be caused by capsaicin... in fact i met a guy just yesterday who's a doctor who works for a japanese pharmaceutical firm and he told me that capsaicin may have something to do with it... but then india and thailand consume the most chiles... and there the chiles seem to be having benevolent effects since they both have fairly low rates of conditions like cancer....

but if and when u do find out about the effects of excess chiles, do post the results on the board..

Posted by: chinchilla at April 4, 2003 03:03 AM

I've heard that very hot peppers kill some parasites. They may be associated with some stomach problems. Everything I know is grade A certified scuttlebutt.

China and Japan don't eat peppers much I don't think. In the one case I read about in China, a particular fermented sauce was the cause (two neighboring areas were very similiar but used different sauces and had wide differences in stomach cancer rates: in Needham I think).

However, if you are really at SOC, I can guarantee you that you can win lots of habareno-eating bets in bars, and you can also watch your macho adversaries' faces turn red and tears run down their faces. Compared to most American honkies I love spicy food and I buy Tabasco in large bottles, but at the local Thai restaurant I can only eat heat level 2 ("mild") on a scale of 5. (I can just barely eat level 3 ("medium"), but not enjoy it.)

I'm willing to grant that this particular tolernce is hereditary.

Posted by: zizka at April 4, 2003 07:15 AM

I think it protects against stomach cancer. Cancer rates in South India (where they eat a lot of hot spices) is lower than other places. However, I dont have a link for this and I may have gotten it wrong.

Posted by: js at April 4, 2003 07:04 PM

Cancer rates are notoriously deceiving, for them to have any import you have to have a modern sophisticated medical culture. Simply put, a lot of deaths that are cancer related are not reported as cancer, especially in times or places with primitive medicine. This is a big sticking point with me, as enviros will claim that our modern soceity (and its products) have increased cancer rates, when what they are reporting is we have gotten better at diagnosing cancer, so rates go up. So, to get to my point, just because South india reports lower stomach cancer rates does not mean they have lower stomach cancer rates in reality

Posted by: scott at April 4, 2003 08:07 PM

Sept. 3, 2002 -- Hot chili peppers not only fire up your food, they may also put the heat on cancer cells and force them to self-destruct. A new study shows a natural substance found in chili peppers kills cancer cells by starving them of oxygen.

They found that the majority of the skin cancer cells exposed to the substances died. The researchers say these substances seem to kill cells by damaging the cell membranes and limiting the amount of oxygen that reaches the cancer cells. Chilis Put the Heat On Cancer: Substance In Peppers Kills Cancer Cells

Posted by: CharlesWT at April 5, 2003 01:27 AM

from the same WebMD article mentioned above

"But Surh says more research is needed to completely understand the process of how the substance causes cell death before it can be used as a potential cancer treatment. Until then, it could be argued that capsaicin might be poisonous to non-cancerous cells as well, he adds."

as with anything in Chemotherapy or poisons, the dose makes poison. If you have enough of the substance to kill cancerous cells you probably are overwhelming all other cells (and you probably would have to eat hundreds of peppers at one time to get that concentration of the substance)

Posted by: scott at April 5, 2003 07:57 AM

Don't forget that peppers are anti-inflammatory as well. Isn't it ironic....

Posted by: Grady at April 5, 2003 10:08 AM

I've always understood that the peppers weren't really that caustic to your stomach lining or your throat -- that the reaction is all "taste", or just how your senses react to them. But sometimes, if i eat a raw chile pepper, one of the really viciously hot small green ones, I'll get the hiccups. My esophagus just goes haywire!! And the *end* result can be woeful. . . .

I love peppers -- I really love the taste of habeneros, much more than jalapenos. The habs are hot as blazes, but they've also got this intense frutity burst of flavor (right before the heat kicks in). Very Zesty!! Jalepenos are good, too, but they don't have that burst of flavor at the front end. Not that I EVER eat them whole -- I just use them for flavor & to make sauces.

I especially love roasting various peppers & using them in salads & stews. Roasting can reduce the pepper's heat & allow its other flavors to be appreciated.

Posted by: Whackadoodle at April 5, 2003 03:14 PM

many of the intellectual neo-confederates oppose the war zizka. yes, i know the guyz driving the pick-up trucks don't-but remember that there is a dichotomoy. both sam francis & jared taylor have major beefs with the bush foreign policy and have concurrent opinions with the Left though they are explicit white nationalists. the paleos have no ground support among the evangelicals (the paleos are mostly non-religious or catholics or high church protestant too)-so the stereotype is that the Right is for an expansive foreign policy. as sporon notes, this is not necessarily so.

i also am not too scared about bush and the abortion issue-i don't see how he wants to "end legal abortion." if roe vs. wade is overturned, the vast majority of americans that have access to abortion would still have access to it. i'm also not as convinced that the reconstructionists have that much traction on the elite levels-though i too am suspicious about some the tendencies among the republican faithfull.

but the short of it is-i'm not going to give the Left the benefit of the doubt because of my secular commonalities because though the Left does a good job about guarding against western religious nuttiness, multiculturalism trumps secularism, and being anti-muslims seems now to be considered 'racist' and 'prejudiced.' if more Leftists were unabashed supporters of western values-gender equity, individual liberty, etc.-in the face of cultural pluralism, then mebee i would be with you. but i don't see that. there are isolated voices, but most people on the Left are too busy attacking the enemies at home.

Posted by: razib at April 5, 2003 07:20 PM

Within the Democratic Party / left, multiculturalists don't have the heft that the hard right has in the Republican Party (unless you include the NAACP under multiculturalism).

The weenie university hippie left is not characteristic of much of anything, and as far as that goes a lot of them are Greens. (Dems hate Greens, if you didn't know that). I do think that there's a bit of a skew in your experience.

As I said on a different thread, I can easily understand hating hippies (I'm a liberal, but a crusty old liberal). But that isn't a very good foundation for a political stance, any more than strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is a good foundation for sovereignty. (I won't repeat my plagiarized joke again).

Posted by: zizka at April 6, 2003 06:23 PM