Why Do Spicy Chips Make You Dizzy?

Dizziness is often attributed to low blood sugar, blood pressure irregularities, etc. However, some people may complain of dizziness after eating certain foods like spicy chips. Although the undesirable effect of dizziness after a meal somewhat relates to individual differences, one must wonder whether there are more explanations behind it.

Spicy chips can only make you dizzy when your body releases endogenous opiates to counteract the heat from capsaicin. You can also get dizzy if you are allergic to any of the ingredients or have an underlying medical condition like hypertension and capsaicin intolerance. However, dizziness due to spicy chips consumption is relative and highly subjective. 

Although we can observe dizziness with visible signs, it is still subjective as the person experiencing it best describes the situation. When people claim spicy chips make them dizzy, we can only wonder about the extent. So in this article, we will attempt to explore the different ways eating spicy chips can make one dizzy and why. Keep reading to learn more!  

Can Spicy Chips Make You Dizzy?

When we consider how light one of the most popular snacks, spicy chips are, it seems counterintuitive that it would make some people dizzy. Although dizziness after eating spicy chips might be due to individual differences, it raises some psychological queries of interest. “Do spicy chips really make you dizzy?” 

The reason is that spicy chips generate a burning sensation in the mouth due to the presence of capsaicin contained in most chili peppers used for making spicy chips. Capsaicin is the phytochemical responsible for the hotness of most chili peppers. 

Essentially, spicy chips do not directly make you dizzy after consumption. Instead, your dizziness results from your body’s reaction to the capsaicin of the chili pepper used as a vital ingredient for spicy chips and many other spicy foods. 

In addition, you could feel dizzy after eating spicy chips if you are intolerant to capsaicin, are hypersensitive (allergic), or have any other underlying medical condition. Therefore, your hypersensitive response to specific allergens in the spicy chips, which may not be strictly due to capsaicin, can cause you to feel dizzy. 

Having established that spicy chips do not directly make you dizzy and your dizziness is merely a reactive response to another factor within the spicy chips. Let’s consider the associated dizzy feelings to see if there is any science behind explaining it!

When Can Spicy Chips Make You Dizzy?

It is essential to note that dizziness from spicy chips may not always be direct, as some dizzy feelings overlap. To create a false-positive diagnosis means that you might be feeling dizzy due to other situations that are not due to spicy chips but coincide with the time you consumed spicy chips. Let’s look at some purported spicy chips-induced dizziness to see what lies behind it. 

Spicy Chips-Induced Dizziness and Capsaicin

Sometimes, the dizziness you feel from eating spicy chips is similar to the runner’s high,’ and it is not the type that makes you want to pass out. Instead, you feel somewhat calm and lightheaded in a good way, like some spicy food enthusiasts would describe as the ‘chili high.’ 

The reason is that when your heat-sensitive mouth receptors (TRPV1) make contact with capsaicin, your brain is tricked into believing your body is on fire. As a result, your body tries to counteract and compensate for the discomfort by increasing saliva production, sweat, hyperventilation, etc. 

Interestingly, all physical reactions from your body to balance the heat increases the blood supply around your body, including your brain, through a process known as vasodilation (expansion of the blood vessels). As a result, of the increased blood flow through your brain, you might experience a hazy feeling or mild lightheadedness. 

Another form of dizziness is often due to the release of endogenous opiates like dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins. Endogenous opiates are feel-good chemicals your body naturally produces. 

In the case of spicy chips, the false perception of a life-threatening event due to the heat from capsaicin causes your body to release endogenous opiates to balance your stress response, leaving you feeling somewhat tranquil yet excited. However, only spicy food enthusiasts can appreciate these feelings of dizziness enough to find pleasure in them.  

Spicy Chips Induced Dizziness and Hypersensitivity.

Some people have a very low tolerance for capsaicin, and Similarly, some people are allergic to capsaicin. Therefore, a person with capsaicin intolerance or allergy might report feelings of dizziness after eating spicy chips. 

It is usually due to the overproduction of histamine that interacts with the capsaicin in spicy chips. Also, some pollen or pollen-like ingredients in the chips can trigger your allergies. In severe cases, capsaicin allergy might lead to anaphylaxis.  

Spicy Chips Induced Dizziness and Other Medical Conditions.

If you are hypertensive or have other medical conditions, the capsaicin in most spicy chips might be too intense. The reason is that your body might have problems adjusting or withstanding its physical reactions to capsaicin. 

For instance, the increased pumping of blood around your body might trigger a heart attack if you are prone to high blood pressure, and in severe cases, you could get a stroke. Additionally, if you experience chronic issues of low blood glucose, you will most likely feel dizzy all the time. So if you eat spicy chips, you could think the chips are the reason for your dizziness.    

Is Spicy Chips-Induced Dizziness the Same As Postprandial Vertigo?

Spicy chips-induced dizziness is not the same as postprandial vertigo. Postprandial vertigo refers to a sudden feeling of dizziness after a meal. Essentially, postprandial means ‘after a meal.’

Postprandial vertigo is caused by an increased flow of blood from all body parts towards the gut to aid digestion. This type of vertigo occurs when so much blood volume is channeled to the digestive system, leaving the brain with insufficient blood supply. However, the dizziness from eating spicy chips is due to your body’s reaction to capsaicin. 

Pros and Cons of Eating Spicy Chips

As most spicy food fans call it, the “hot culture” experience is different for everybody. Some people have a higher tolerance, while others have a lower tolerance. As a result, different people might find consuming spicy foods like spicy chips beneficial and others detrimental. 

Here are a few pros and cons of consuming spicy chips.

Pros of Eating Spicy ChipsCons of Eating Spicy Chips
Generates euphoric feelingsIt might exacerbate digestive problems
Elevates the body temperature during coldsMay aggravate stomach ulcers
Increases body metabolismMight trigger allergies in hypersensitive individuals
May act as an anti-inflammatory agentCan cause headaches in some people
Adds flavor to foodMay desensitize taste buds over time
Capsaicin is a blood thinner and not suitable for people on heavy medication

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Pass Out From Eating Spicy Chips?

Passing out from eating spicy chips is a possibility but not regular. If you are allergic to any of the ingredients in the spicy chips, passing out might occur. If you are not allergic to any ingredients, you will only feel the burn from the chips.

What Is Responsible for the Weird Feeling I Get After Eating Spicy Food?

Capsaicin is responsible for the weird feeling you get after eating spicy food. However, the definition of weird in this context is relative. Capsaicin is the phytochemical in most spicy food that gives the peppery feeling that your body interprets as painful.

When Should Your Dizzy Feelings Become a Cause for Concern?

Generally, people can feel dizzy for several reasons. However, you should check into the emergency room for immediate attention when it becomes recurrent, sudden, severe, and prolonged.

Final Thoughts

The subjective relativity of dizziness associated with spicy chips makes it somewhat difficult to understand. Hopefully, this article helps you see between the lines that when you feel spicy chips make you dizzy, there is more to it than meets the eyes. 

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Bill Kalkumnerd

I am Bill, I am the Owner of HappySpicyHour, a website devoted to spicy food lovers like me. Ramen and Som-tum (Papaya Salad) are two of my favorite spicy dishes. Spicy food is more than a passion for me - it's my life! For more information about this site Click

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