Why do people hate bugs

Why people love - or hate - chillies

Chilies are arguably the spice that has gained the most popularity in recent years. But why do many people love the hot red pods?

When it comes to taste, people talk almost exclusively about the actual taste of a food and maybe also about the smell.

But there is also a third quality of taste. These are the physical sensations of touch, i.e. of temperature and pain. Welcome to the world of chillies, because they are a prime example of a food that serves the third taste quality.

This third taste quality does not yet have a name. There are terms in science for this, but these are not uniform and each only describe a sub-category. The only consensus in science at the moment is that the physical signs of this third quality of taste are manifestations of the sense of touch.

Although not really explored and mostly overlooked, these qualities are essential for our experience of taste. So the trinity of taste is: taste, smell, tactile sensation.

More than pain

The burning of chillies now falls mainly into the area of ​​tactile sensation and less into taste or smell. For a long time it was not known what caused the burning sensation. It was not until 1997 that receptors for capsaicin were discovered in the brain, the substance that is responsible for the feeling of heat when consuming chillies. The same receptor is also active at hot temperatures. When chili is consumed in the brain, the tongue is burned.

Chilies: many differences

Depending on the variety, chillies feel very different in the mouth. Most obvious are other degrees of heat and sharpness. The Scoville scale used today for this purpose was developed by Wilbur Scoville in 1912. He said that you can measure the sharpness of food by diluting an extract until testers can no longer perceive any sharpness.

Pepper had to z. B. be diluted ten times, so he has ten Scoville. However, some chilies have well over 100,000 Scoville!

But it's not just about the sensation of heat or sharpness. Chilies can also be divided into the following categories:

  1. Duration of sharpness
  2. Place where the sharpness occurs (lips, tip of tongue, palate ...)
  3. Type of sharpness (piercing and local or slowly increasing and distributed ...)

Does greasy really help against spiciness?

But what do you do when it gets too hot? It is often said that something greasy would help. Cold milk is often recommended for this. The coolness helps against the heat, the liquid whitewashes the burning sensation and the fat dissolves the capsaicin from the receptors.

However, there are no studies on this. However, experts assume that milk only helps because it distracts us from burning. Because even fat is not without controversy. If you taste the spiciness, the capsaicin has already penetrated deep into the tissue, and a superficial milk rinse will no longer help.

Pain as pleasure

Millions of people today seek the pain that chilies cause and derive pleasure from it. Humans are the only living things on the planet that cause themselves pain with chillies. (Granted, birds love the colorful pods, but they have no capsaicin receptors, which means that chilies are no hotter than water for them.) Nevertheless, there are also people who cannot stand chilli heat and avoid it. An interesting incident. There is still no clear answer to the question of why some people love chillies and others hate them, but there are many possible explanations:

  • Chili lovers should feel the burning less.
  • The genes are to blame.
  • Some people have more sensitive capsaicin receptors than others.

Are Chili Lovers Masochists?

Whatever the explanation, one thing is certain: chili lovers enjoy the pain that comes with it. It was not long before this paradox called the psychologists on the scene. As early as 1980, the practice of voluntarily causing pain with chillies was seen as a form of benign masochism, similar to a roller coaster ride or a horror film. Otherwise, pain is always a warning of imminent damage, such as a hot potato that you can quickly drop before something worse happens.

False alarm

Burning chillies triggers the same reactions in the brain as if you had touched a hot potato, but it is a false alarm. So it's a thrill that makes it seem like living dangerously. However, you do not expose yourself to any real danger.

According to this explanation, more adventurous people should like chilies. and thats the way it is. Research has shown that more risk-takers tend to like chilies.

By the way:

Some people say that chillies make them taste impossible. Others, on the other hand, believe that the spiciness first awakens the taste buds for other impressions and that everything tastes more intense. The fact is: capsaicin blocks the taste to a very limited extent, if at all. So you just don’t taste anything if you concentrate too much on the spiciness. Not dealing with it is sometimes not that easy.

Here you can find our large selection of chilli products for cooking. There is something for every taste and degree of spiciness. :-)