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Thread: Is it bad to drink water with spicy food?

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    Is it bad to drink water with spicy food?

    I found a bunch of articles online that say it is bad to drink water after having spicy food. The explanation that they give is that it is good to drink something that has non-polar molecules in it, like milk, because it carries away the spice molecules. For example, this article on IFL Science. From experience I completely agree that milk is better than water. What I'm wondering is, is water really bad, or just not as good as other things? I would think that to a certain extent, the mechanical effect of the liquid flowing would pull away spice molecules.
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    Bad in what sense? Bad for the health? I don't understand the comment about "carrying away spice molecules".

    Sorry, just followed the link. It is about chillies. I can't see how water can be "bad". Ineffective, maybe. But does the video say that drinking water will make the heat worse?
    Last edited by Strange; 2018-May-11 at 08:39 AM.

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    Not bad, just relatively ineffective at removing the capsaicin. Your linked article has a dumb, click-bait title.
    And, of course, this applies to capsaicin, not necessarily all spicy food -so we're talking about chili/paprika. (Though perhaps other spices are less likely to cause a "spice emergency".)

    The video says "water will spread capsaicin around your mouth" - but chewing and saliva have already done that, and we've already established that capsaicin dissolves poorly in water. So I guess if you'd rested a bit of pepper on your tongue for a while, you might manage to spread the sensation around a bit with a mouthful of water, but I don't think that's a significant issue with normal eating. The article is also written from a chemical, rather than a physiological perspective - drinking iced water will remove some of the acute burning sensation by cooling the tissues, just like running your sunburned arm under cold water reduces the sensation without removing the cause.

    Has anyone ever experienced this supposed intensification of pain when drinking water after hot chili? I certainly haven't, and I've done it numerous times.

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    Last edited by grant hutchison; 2018-May-11 at 10:52 AM. Reason: last para
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    What I've read about it is that water is "bad" in the sense that it just helps spread the capsaicin around in your mouth, making it reach more receptors that might not have triggered before. So potentially it makes the chili pain sensation worse instead of helping reduce it. Fatty foods actually help take the capsaicin away. I guess the article says pretty much the same thing, the video certainly does.

    ETA: of course it also depends quite a bit on how you ingest the capscaicin: is it in chili oil, is the food heavily laced with it, are you eating a pepper off the plant, is it in concentrated hot sauce, etc etc.

    I've yet to find an effective way to reduce the pain in the other part of the body that has capsaicin receptors... Cringe until it alleviates is the only option, I think.

    There’s even a scale to measure the intensity of this response, called the Scoville scale.
    That's not right, but I guess they condensed this too much from the information in the video. The Scoville rating originally means how much the heat stuff must be diluted before it can't be tasted anymore.
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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    I've yet to find an effective way to reduce the pain in the other part of the body that has capsaicin receptors...
    Cold water or ice is pretty good, in my experience.

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    Wow, there are some pretty hysterical websites out there. Anyone who did a brief online search would get the impression that a mouthful of water on top of a hot chili would blow your head clean off. The "water bad" meme seems to have achieved such penetration that people are actually asking, "Spicy food doesn't feel worse after I drink water, why is that?"

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    Cold water gives you temporary relief, but the pain comes back again quickly once you've swallowed the water.

    This can lead you to drink loads of water, which may make any digestive problem coming later even worse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Cold water or ice is pretty good, in my experience.
    Thanks. Neither usually quickly available when the condition...um... presents itself. Fortunately it fades a lot quicker then the mouth/throat burn.

    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Wow, there are some pretty hysterical websites out there.
    Probably right up there with the frantic warnings that chilies may cause perforated stomachs and thunderclap headaches. Both based on a single correlation with a very hot pepper, but no evidence for causation. Clickbait, maybe.
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    Given the correct way to eat a curry is with a lager, the capsacin is already getting plenty of sloshed about and you'll be setting yourself up for higher than normal toilet visits anyway so no difference.

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    Curry? I even put fresh chilies and/or sriracha on cheese sandwiches...
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    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    Cold water gives you temporary relief, but the pain comes back again quickly once you've swallowed the water.

    This can lead you to drink loads of water, which may make any digestive problem coming later even worse.
    Well ... [common sense required]

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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    Curry? I even put fresh chilies and/or sriracha on cheese sandwiches...
    Yeah. There's some kind of strange catastrophizing vibe to the websites I looked at. As if eating a chili hotter than you like is some sort of Major Life Event, which must be dealt with swiftly and appropriately in order to avert Utter Disaster.

    But it's pretty easy to deal with: Oooh. It's hot. Drink something cool. Wait. After a while it gets better. Don't eat any more of that stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    ..., which must be dealt with swiftly and appropriately in order to avert Utter Disaster.
    That's one I can stomach.

    Here is a list of 5 ingredients that seem helpful. I agree with all five, though I think alcohol may be the least effective for me.
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    The "pain" is the whole point of eating hot chilies anyhow. As for washing them down, I use Dos Equis or Negra Modelo.

    Now if there was something to prevent the "ring of fire" effect the next morning, I'd be interested in that.
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    I was gonna say that even though it's largely water, beer does help spicy food go down easier. Margarita, now she's even a better dinner date ;-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    The "pain" is the whole point of eating hot chilies anyhow.
    Yes! The heat sensation, or at least tingle, just adds to all the other flavor layers. It brings more joy to eating food. Why would you want to wash it down?! Make the glow last!
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    I once had someone tell me that capsaicin is basic (on the high end of ph) so having something acid helps with the burn. Anybody know if there's anything to that?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    I once had someone tell me that capsaicin is basic (on the high end of ph) so having something acid helps with the burn. Anybody know if there's anything to that?
    I wouldn't think capsaicin has a pH; it is essentially a non-polar molecule. According to this paper, pH seems to affect the receptors for capsaicin, but not capsaicin itself.

    These results are consistent with a model in which, on reducing extracellular pH, the vanilloid receptor in rat DRG neurons, changes from a state with low affinity for capsaicin to one with high affinity, coincident with a loss of cooperativity. This effect, presumed to be proton mediated, appears to involve one or more sites with pKa value 7.4 – 7.9, outside the membrane electrical field on an extracellularly exposed region of the receptor protein.
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    I always thought those hot substances were fat soluble and alcohol soluble but not water soluble. So the advice was drink milk or yoghurts if food is too spicy for you. Indian restaurants recommend a Yoghurt. It is interesting to see how different people are about those spices, there must be some corresponding traits.
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    I always thought those hot substances were fat soluble and alcohol soluble but not water soluble. So the advice was drink milk or yoghurts if food is too spicy for you. Indian restaurants recommend a Yoghurt. It is interesting to see how different people are about those spices, there must be some corresponding traits.
    Lassi. The mango lassi is quite nice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    That's one I can stomach.

    Here is a list of 5 ingredients that seem helpful. I agree with all five, though I think alcohol may be the least effective for me.
    It reminds me of a stupid joke. There is a guy banging his head against a wall, and somebody comes up and asks, doesn't that hurt? Yes, it hurts, answers the guy. Then why are you doing it?

    -Because it feels so good when I stop!
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Yeah. There's some kind of strange catastrophizing vibe to the websites I looked at. As if eating a chili hotter than you like is some sort of Major Life Event, which must be dealt with swiftly and appropriately in order to avert Utter Disaster.
    Yeah, that's what prompted me to start that. I can totally understand saying that drinking water isn't particularly effective in getting rid of spiciness. But saying "it's the absolute worst thing you can do..." makes it sound like it's better just to shoot yourself in the head or jump off a cliff or something.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Yeah, that's what prompted me to start that. I can totally understand saying that drinking water isn't particularly effective in getting rid of spiciness. But saying "it's the absolute worst thing you can do..." makes it sound like it's better just to shoot yourself in the head or jump off a cliff or something.
    It's almost a machismo event to test oneself, though women aren't immune to the self-tests. My brother would engage in a few jalapeno eating events where the prize was, IIRC, simply more jalapenos. It was nuts to even watch them. Then came serranos followed by the more toxic habaneros. Who could eat the hottest? Absurd! Even I declined. A while back, we visited one restaurant called Serranos though it didn't last long for obvious reasons.

    But there is one item that can often be too spicy to eat, yet I can hardly stop eating it -- queso. Around 1976, I learned that a block of Velveta + can of Ro*tel + jalapenos + 2 bags large corn chips makes a near-perfect delight. The person who first made it, and claimed to be the first, added more jalapenos than necessary and each bit was a struggle, yet I and everyone else continued to dip and sweat. I've been eating it ever since though with far less jalapenos. The alternating pure-cheese scoops seem to diminish the flames. The milk, I suppose, does help.
    Last edited by George; 2018-May-15 at 02:32 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    It's almost a machismo event to test oneself, though women aren't immune to the self-tests.
    Somewhere on the internet there's a video of a woman putting a tablespoonful of paprika into her mouth, with IOTTMOI consequences. Quite why she decided she'd video herself doing this, or why she uploaded the video of her hysterical response in the aftermath, I cannot tell. I only know it exists because I was a devotee of the first two seasons of The Science of Stupid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Somewhere on the internet there's a video of a woman putting a tablespoonful of paprika into her mouth, with IOTTMOI consequences. Quite why she decided she'd video herself doing this, or why she uploaded the video of her hysterical response in the aftermath, I cannot tell. I only know it exists because I was a devotee of the first two seasons of The Science of Stupid.
    If it generates views, clicks, likes, subscriptions etc, it generates money. Maybe not much, but enough. The sad thing is, the more exaggerated the behavior is, the more clicks they might get. So these days I even doubt the veracity of some "chili reaction" videos. Sometimes it just doesn't seem to fit, the amount of apparent pain, and the apparent quick recovery. (I loved Hammond in Science of Stupid. Fun show. New guy does OK. Hard to fill those shoes.)

    As for loving hot chilies, I'm not sure that a chilihead can explain it to somebody who isn't one (yet). That even thinking of spicey food waters the mouth. Yes, there's also a bit of a challenge element to it, how hot can you eat? But I think that's more of a gimmick, to chiliheads anyway. They know that by consuming more and more, their heat tolerance will increase. Perhaps it's more those not really familiar with chilies who see it as a bucketlist or man-from-boys event?
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Somewhere on the internet there's a video of a woman putting a tablespoonful of paprika into her mouth, with IOTTMOI consequences. Quite why she decided she'd video herself doing this, or why she uploaded the video of her hysterical response in the aftermath, I cannot tell. I only know it exists because I was a devotee of the first two seasons of The Science of Stupid.
    Hmm, I think part of the answer is that there are people like you (and me) who like those kinds of shows, and there are other people who would like to be famous even if they do it by looking stupid (or sometimes by doing fairly foolish things)...
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    ...with IOTTMOI consequences.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey View Post
    IANFWTACYE (I am not familiar with that acronym. Could you explain?)
    Sorry. I forgot where I was.
    IOTTMOI = Intuitively Obvious To The Meanest Of Intellects.
    I won't trouble you with the back-story.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Sorry. I forgot where I was.
    IOTTMOI = Intuitively Obvious To The Meanest Of Intellects.
    I'm glad it wasn't obvious, I think.
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    Black tea is good for removing the heat as the tannins help break down the oils.

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