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Men With Higher Testosterone Levels Eat More of This Food

A new French study might explain those YouTube videos of men suffering the self-inflicted pain of spicy peppers. Though those cringe-worth videos are doubtlessly fueled by the desire for attention, this study finds there is actually a connection between testosterone levels and a preference for spicy foods.

The study, published in Physiology & Behavior, surveyed 114 men aged 18 to 44 on their spice preferences before serving them a dish of mashed potatoes they were allowed to season with as much salt and hot pepper as they liked.

The researchers found that the men with higher levels of testosterone in their saliva showed a greater preference for spicy foods and doused their potatoes with the greatest amount of hot sauce, even after the data was controlled for differences in age. More research has to be done to clarify causation, since it might be the hot sauce giving testosterone levels a boost; a past animal study showed an increased level of testosterone in rats fed a diet containing capsaicin.

The authors note that the hormone has long been associated with many other factors related to capsaicin preference, like dominance, aggression and daring behavior, while "low testosterone levels have been associated with lethargic or depressive mood." So, until they prove causation, it might be worth stocking up on the Sriracha.

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