Got that mouth burn from eating spicy wings or adding too much sriracha sauce? Now there is a cure.
Researchers at the Sensory Evaluation Center in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences asked 72 people – 42 women and 30 men – to drink a glass of spicy Bloody Mary mix containing capsaicin, a chili pepper extract, and had them rate their initial sensation.
In later sessions, participants were asked to drink either purified water, cola, cherry-flavored Kool-Aid, seltzer water, non-alcoholic beer, skim milk or whole milk after drinking the spicy mix and then rate the burn every 10 seconds for two minutes. The results were recently published in the journal Physiology and Behavior.
There is a lot of folklore on what works to counteract the burn, but not much data to support the claims, said John Hayes, associate professor of food science.
Milk beat the heat best, the study found.
All of the beverages managed to put out the fire, but not to the extent of milk or Kool-Aid, another winner. Researchers think the sweetness in the juice might overwhelm the burning sensation.
The big surprise for researchers was that there was no difference between skim or whole milk. More research is needed to find out exactly how the beverages reduce the burn, researchers said.
The study came about when the scientists were initially conducting tasting studies and needed to find a way to clear the palates of participants who were in research involving capsaicin.
“We were interested in giving capsaicin solutions to many test participants and we were concerned with the lingering burn at the end of an experiment,” said Hayes.