Participants in the One Chip Challenge are required to consume only one very hot Paqui Carolina Reaper chip and refrain from eating or drinking anything else for the rest of the challenge. Celebrities and social media influencers have taken the challenge, and it has drawn criticism for the detrimental impact on their health. After a 14-year-old child died on the same day he accepted the challenge in September 2023, Paqui removed the chips from sale and ceased promoting the challenge.
One Chip Challenge
A firm that makes tortilla chips called Paqui has been promoting The One Chip Challenge on social media. One spicy chip was offered in a single box with the title “One Chip Challenge” at Paqui. Eat one spicy tortilla chip as part of the challenge, then go without eating or drinking for as long as you can.
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The Paqui website challenged users to wait as long as possible before eating or drinking anything after consuming a chip, referring to those who can go a whole hour without doing so as “invincible” (those who do so within a minute are rejected as “powerless”). Additionally, posting responses to the challenge on social media was encouraged.
Paqui One Chip Challenge
Consuming items containing capsaicin, such as the tortilla chips used in the Paqui One Chip Challenge, may cause tongue irritation, pain, or burning as well as gastrointestinal discomfort. Consuming capsaicin may also result in more severe health issues, such as breathing difficulties, allergic responses, chest discomfort, irregular heartbeats, and even heart attacks or strokes. Larger doses of capsaicin might also result in frequent vomiting, which can endanger your life by damaging your esophagus.
People should take care while ingesting meals or goods that contain capsaicin as a result. Children and teens, persons with food allergies, those who are sensitive to spicy meals, those who have health issues including heart and lung illness, or women who are pregnant should not attempt the One Chip Challenge. A 14-year-old child passed only a few hours after completing the One Chip Challenge in September 2023.
How hot is the One Chip Challenge?
The degree of heat and spice in the One Chip Challenge may vary from person to person. Capsaicin, a compound found in chili peppers, is responsible for the burning sensation that follows consumption. The Scoville heat units (SHU) scale is widely used to determine the capsaicin content in foods.
While pure capsaicin has around 15 million SHU, bell peppers have 0 SHU. The Naga Viper Pepper has around 1.4 million SHU, while the Carolina Reaper pepper has up to 2.2 million SHU. Because of their high SHU values, both of these peppers are likely to be highly strong, unpleasant to taste, and risky for health.
What is capsaicin?
The component found in chili peppers that makes them active is called capsaicin. Pepper plants may use capsaicin as a natural defense against fungi and predators. Capsaicin may be created by a chemical process even though it exists in nature. There are powder, liquid, cream, and spray versions of it. Despite being tasteless and colorless, the eyes, mouth, and skin of both humans and animals are severely irritated by capsaicin.
How long does the One Chip Challenge last?
Because capsaicin is so irritating, most individuals who consume goods that contain it, like the chip in the Paqui One Chip Challenge, experience instant tongue and throat discomfort. The uncomfortable and painful signs and symptoms might remain for several hours, but in some people, they can linger for days.
What do you eat after the One Chip Challenge?
Milk’s chemical makeup may make it more efficient than water for easing tongue and throat irritation after consumption of meals containing capsaicin. After handling the One Chip Challenge chip, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water to remove any remaining capsaicin, which may cause extra discomfort if it gets on your face or eyes. If capsaicin gets in your eyes, flush them out with room-temperature water for 15 to 20 minutes right away.
What If the One Chip Challenge makes me sick?
Get advice from Poison Control right away if you or anybody else starts to exhibit alarming symptoms after doing the One Chip Challenge. Help from poison control is available online from webPOISONCONTROL and by phone at 1-800-222-1222. Both options are discreet, may be used at any time of day or night, and do not cost anything.
- Kelly Johnson-Arbor, MD & Maryann Amirshahi, MD
- Medical Toxicologists at The National Capital Poison Center
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