The Government Paid A Lot of Money To Research Spicy Food

Posted: Jun 22, 2016 2:45 PM

Spicy food is delicious--to some people. Other people find it repulsive. The NIH, however, thinks it's necessary to spend $500,000 to figure out why.


Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is doing the Lord's work with his periodic "waste reports" detailing exactly how the government is wasting taxpayer money on things that really aren't all that earth shattering. His latest:

Since 2011, one researcher at the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) has received approximately half a million dollars to study people’s rejection threshold for spice and bitterness. The results are incredible…as in it is incredible NIH took your tax dollars to fund this research.

One paper, published in 2013, explored how a persons’ personality influenced their like for spicy foods. According to the study, “[a]s expected, a strong relationship was found between liking spicy foods and frequency of chili consumption.” The study found people seeking sensation like spice, but generally personality has no relation to liking spicy foods. As a follow up, a new study was recently released asking how gender influences ones’ like for spicy foods.

Another study sought to determine what level of bitterness was objectionable for chocolate milk consumers. It seems people that like dark chocolate can tolerate 2.3 times more bitterness than those who prefer milk chocolate. Someone should let Hershey’s know.

Just amazing. Who'd have thought that people who prefer dark chocolate, the bitterer cousin to the delicious milk chocolate, might actually like bitter flavors? Groundbreaking. Further, how in the world does it make sense that a person's personality has anything to do with their tastebuds? I'm so glad taxpayers were on the hook for this crucial research. It's not like there are actual health problems like addiction, cancer, and heart disease that are in desperate need of solving.

According to Sen. Paul's report, 70 Americans had to work for a year to produce the tax revenue needed to fund these studies. Yikes.