If you’re thinking of taking the plunge into the latest TikTok craze, the One Chip Challenge, you may want to think again. This challenge is a tall order even for the most seasoned spicy food veterans, leaving many curled up in a ball. But how hard on the body is it?
The One Chip Challenge hurts the stomach of most people who attempt it. However, this pain is usually temporary. How much it hurts depends on factors such as an individual’s pre-existing medical conditions and the degree of preparation for the challenge.
I’ll give further information on the effects of the challenge throughout this article. I’ll also explain some of the science behind spicy food and how to prepare for it.
Why Does the One Chip Challenge Hurt Your Stomach?
The One Chip Challenge chip contains extracts from:
- Carolina Reaper chili – Around 2,000,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU)
- Scorpion pepper – Around 1,200,000 SHU
For comparison, a jalapeno ranges from 2,500 to 10,000 SHU – 200 times milder!
These blisteringly hot peppers contain a compound called capsaicin. When eaten, capsaicin binds to pain receptors in the mouth and throat. This generates an intense burning sensation that screams “danger!”
Your stomach also has these pain receptors. Capsaicin can irritate the digestive tract, causing:
- Cramping and abdominal pain
The One Chip Challenge Explained
Spicy chips come and go seemingly every year, each one attempting to hit a home run with lovers of extreme heat. Paqui chips are no different. The brand has several milder chip flavors like nacho cheese and zesty salsa verde, but they’ve gained fame for the spicier ones.
In 2021 they started a social media marketing campaign, calling it ‘the One Chip Challenge.’
The company sold individually wrapped chips that they claim are the hottest chip in the world, made with real Carolina Reaper and Scorpion Peppers – two of the spiciest known peppers, with Scoville Heat Units (SHU) of 2 million and 1.2 million, respectively.
The challenge is simple: eat just one chip and see how long you can go without eating or drinking anything. However, the extreme level of spiciness makes it impossible even for avid
Reactions to the One Chip Challenge
Searching for ‘the One Chip Challenge’ online will yield results for hundreds of videos of teary-eyed people struggling to eat the spicy tortilla chip.
The challenge became so popular that schools had to warn parents that the chips were potentially dangerous to their children, with one student reportedly suffering from seizures after eating the chip.
Three students at another school in Lodi, California, were hospitalized after eating the chip, reportedly suffering from nausea, vomiting, and difficulty breathing. Such symptoms aren’t uncommon among those with little experience with spicy food.
Paqui even issues warnings on their products so that those attempting the challenge know what they’re getting into.
How Long Does One Chip Challenge Stomach Pain Last?
For most healthy adults, the stomach pain and indigestion from the One Chip Challenge lasts about 24 hours, but it can persist up to 3 days in some cases.
The severity and duration depends on:
- Your individual
- Level of preparation/precautions taken
- If you have any pre-existing conditions
Those new to extreme heat will likely suffer far worse and longer than seasoned
Patience and soothing care are key during the long ride out the storm after your chip challenge.
Can the One Chip Challenge Kill You?
While you may feel like you’re dying, the One Chip Challenge is very unlikely to actually kill a healthy adult who eats just one chip. Millions participate with no long-term harm.
However, a few isolated cases involved hospitalization from chip-related vomiting, pain and breathing issues. Those with chronic health conditions or peanut/nightshade allergies may also risk a life-threatening reaction.
- Torn esophagus
- Ruptured stomach
- Dangerously low blood pressure
But overall, death is not a realistic risk with reasonable participation. Don’t let urban legends scare you off from attempting the One Chip Challenge with proper preparation.
One Chip Challenge Poop – When Will It Hit?
If you successfully complete the One Chip Challenge, expect a ring-of-fire bathroom trip 1-12 hours later.
Spicy foods often have a laxative effect due to compounds that irritate the intestines. The evacuating impact typically hits fast and furiously. But you may poop normally, have diarrhea, or be weirdly constipated.
Brace for anything when it comes to your bowel habits after voluntarily nuking your digestive system!
Home Remedies to Soothe Your Stomach
Once you bite into that fateful tortilla chip, the misery soon sets in. Here are some natural ways to try and tame the post-challenge stomach beast:
A tall glass of cold milk can briefly coat and soothe your raging stomach lining. The protein casein binds to capsaicin molecules, helping wash them away.
Sip Herbal Tea
Gentle, minty teas like chamomile and peppermint relax digestive muscles and ease inflammatory discomfort. The aromatic compounds also fart circulate calming, distraction.
Add Lemon Juice to Water
The acid in lemon juice helps break down capsaicin before it penetrates your system. Infuse your water with fresh lemon slices to dilute the heat.
Use Heating Pads
Placing a heating pad on your abdomen can alleviate cramping by improving blood flow to the GI tract and relaxing tight muscles.
Over-the-counter antacids like Tums, Pepto-Bismol, and Rolaids provide fast-acting relief by neutralizing excess stomach acid caused by the chip.
Try Activated Charcoal Pills
Activated charcoal binds to capsaicin, capturing some before it gets absorbed by your digestive system. This may cut down on the intensity.
Eat Yogurt or Cottage Cheese
The protein casein in dairy products bonds to capsaicin molecules, similar to milk. Plus, probiotics like yogurt aid digestion.
Apply a Capsaicin Cream
This sounds counterintuitive, but these creams contain compounds that block pain receptors, numbing your belly. Use sparingly on skin.
Take a Warm Bath
Let a warm tub soothe your stomach muscles as you float weightlessly. Add Epsom or Himalayan salt for extra relief.
When to See a Doctor
In most cases, you just need to ride out the misery from the One Chip Challenge safely at home. But seek immediate medical treatment if you experience:
- Persistent vomiting lasting over 4-6 hours
- Inability to keep down fluids
- Signs of severe dehydration – dizziness, dark urine, rapid heart rate
- Intolerable or worsening abdominal pain
- Bloody stool
- Difficulty breathing
Don’t tough it out past your limits. It’s not worth serious harm. Get help if symptoms become truly extreme or last longer than 48 hours.
While unpleasant, the stomach pain from the One Chip Challenge shouldn’t last too long or be dangerous with proper prep. Soothe symptoms with cold dairy, antacids, warm baths, mint tea and more.
Know your limits, listen to your body, and don’t hesitate to call your doctor if concerns arise. Stay strong as the
- Paqui: Products
- KBTX: ‘One Chip Challenge’ causing serious harm to children
- KCRA: 3 Lodi Students Hospitalized From ‘One Chip Challenge’
- Health Day: ‘Ghost Pepper’ Burns Hole in Man’s Esophagus
- ScienceDirect: Esophageal Rupture After Ghost Pepper Ingestion
- National Library of Medicine: A prospective study on symptom generation according to spicy food intake and TRPV1 genotypes in functional dyspepsia patients
- JSTOR: The Science of Hot Chili Peppers
- NDTV: What Should You Do To Get Relief From Eating Spicy Foods