Personality may predict if you like spicy foods

Certain aspects of an individual's personality may be a determining factor in whether they like their food plain and bland or spicy and hot, according to research presented at the 2013 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo.

Nadia Byrnes, MS, a doctoral candidate at Pennsylvania State University, presented her research that set out to determine whether there was a correlation between personality types and hot-spice preferences. She conducted a study of 184 participants—nonsmokers ages 18 to 45 without any known issues that would compromise their ability to taste, primarily Caucasian and slightly more women than men (63 percent).

Byrnes assessed the group using the Arnett Inventory of Sensation Seeking (AISS), a test for the trait of sensation-seeking, defined as desiring novel and intense stimulation and presumed to contribute to risk preferences. Those in the group who score above the mean AISS score are considered more open to risks and new experiences, while those scoring below the mean are considered less open to those things.

The subjects were given 25 micrometers of capsaicin, the active component of chili peppers, and asked to rate how much they liked a spicy meal as the burn from the capsaicin increased in intensity. Those in the group who fell below the mean AISS rapidly disliked the meal as the burn increased. People who were above the mean AISS had a consistently high liking of the meal even as the burn increased. Those in the mean group liked the meal less as the burn increased, but not nearly as rapidly as those below the mean.

"Theoretically, we know that burn intensity and liking are linear related. The more irritating a compound or food gets, the less people should like it," she said. "But that's not always the case."

Also during the same panel. Shane McDonald, Ph.D., principal flavor chemist at Kalsec, discussed the addition of "tingling" spices to foods, which is not very prevalent in the U.S. diet outside of carbonation. He said "Ma La," a traditional Szechuan cuisine that combines chili peppers (the heat) and Szechuan peppers (the tingle), shows promise for American manufacturers.

The combination of the two sensates enhances the tingling while reducing the heat, which could make certain traditionally spicy foods more appealing to consumers, he said.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Spicing up food can make up for missing fat

Jul 16, 2013

Adding just a small amount of everyday herbs and spices to vegetables and reduced-calorie meals may make those foods more appetizing to consumers, which could ultimately help Americans cut down on dietary fat and choose more ...

The right snack may aid satiety, weight loss

Jul 16, 2013

Healthy snacks that promote a feeling of fullness (satiety) may reduce the amount of food intake at subsequent meals and limit overall food consumption, according to a presentation today at the 2013 Institute of Food Technologists ...

Chili peppers come with blood pressure benefits

Aug 03, 2010

For those with high blood pressure, chili peppers might be just what the doctor ordered, according to a study reported in the August issue of Cell Metabolism. While the active ingredient that gives the peppers their heat - ...

Recommended for you

Can YouTube save your life?

18 hours ago

Only a handful of CPR and basic life support (BLS) videos available on YouTube provide instructions which are consistent with recent health guidelines, according to a new study published in Emergency Medicine Australasia, the jo ...

Doctors frequently experience ethical dilemmas

19 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For physicians trying to balance various financial and time pressures, ethical dilemmas are common, according to an article published Aug. 7 in Medical Economics.

AMGA: Physician turnover still high in 2013

19 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For the second year running, physician turnover remains at the highest rate since 2005, according to a report published by the American Medical Group Association (AMGA).

Obese or overweight teens more likely to become smokers

20 hours ago

A study examining whether overweight or obese teens are at higher risk for substance abuse finds both good and bad news: weight status has no correlation with alcohol or marijuana use but is linked to regular ...

Taking preventive health care into community spaces

21 hours ago

A church. A city park. An office. These are not the typical settings for a medical checkup. But a new nationwide study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research shows that providing health services in ...

User comments