Scientists discovered an astounding connection between men’s testosterone levels and their love for hot and spicy food.
When It Burns, It Burns
Do you like to eat hot chili peppers straight out of jars with warning labels telling would-be eaters the contents aren’t for “sensitive” individuals?
Or do you request “extra hot and spicy” when you order Chinese takeout and thought about signing up for the “Spicy Food World Championship“?
It could be that your testosterone level is responsible.
“Some Like It Hot”
French researchers recruited 144 male participants, measured their testosterone levels and then served them a nice portion of unseasoned mashed potatoes.
To make the potatoes palatable the men were also given hot sauce and salt and could sprinkle both on the potatoes according to their personal preferences.
The more hot sauce a man used, the higher his t-level was. Salt, which acted as the control substance, didn’t show the connection.
What Was There First?
The big question is: does your high testosterone level make you like hot and spicy or does eating hot and spicy raise your testosterone? Both interpretations are possible.
For the first there’s the mound of research linking elevated t-levels to risky behavior: the more testosterone men possess, the more likely they are to do stuff like parachuting, race cars or free-climb skyscrapers.
For translating it the other way around there’s a 2013 study, albeit on rodents: Turkish researchers raised mice on a diet high in capsaicin (the stuff that makes hot peppers hot) and found that the grown-up animals had more testosterone than their compadres on a normal diet.
Maybe my testosterone is not high enough, but my tolerance level for hot food is far, far off from the epic proportions the guys in the hot and spicy championships reach.
This is where the world needs you: in the name of furthering knowledge, please volunteer and make ghost peppers a part of your general nutrition for the next, uh, six months. Then report if you made any unexpected performance jumps in your workouts. Or developed a deep baritone.
If you are female, please tell us if you started growing a beard.
To make sure you know what you are getting yourself into, watch this educational video:
Picture courtesy of Ervins Strauhmanis.