Intended for healthcare professionals

CCBY Open access
Research

Consumption of spicy foods and total and cause specific mortality: population based cohort study

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h3942 (Published 04 August 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h3942

Get chili or die tryin' - Scientific Chinese Myth or Fairy-tale?

The scientific substance of the BMJ-article http://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h3942/ could be summarized as follows: "Get chili resp. other hot spices or die trying" because it is not a prospective trial. It is more a modern fairy-tale combined with naive empiricism and a vague clinical correlation.

Once upon a time, between 2004 and 2008, a huge number of men and women of the People's Republic of China, participants from the China Kadoorie Biobank, were counted and asked only once whether they had had chili or other hot spices in their nutrition during the last single month. They were never asked about this afterwards.

In 2013 a group of Chinese scientists investigated the total and cause specific mortality in this population based cohort without further studying and investigating the nutritional habits of the participants.
The same results you would get when you ask from 2004 until 2008 if people have had caviar, oysters, lobsters, or saffron from the middle east in respect of using automobiles or washing machines and looking for their mortality some years later.

In the huge continent of China with its different meteorologic zones there are many regions where you cannot grow or afford Red Hot Chili Peppers. Many Chinese ethnic groups either have different nutritional habits or people are too poor to buy spices.

And this is the epidemiological truth about increased total and cause specific mortality: The poorer the people, the lower their standard of living and income, the higher is their total and cause specific morbidity and mortality.

This BMJ-publication is too spicy and indigestible.

Dr. med. Thomas G. Schaetzler (MD)
Family Medicine Unit
Public GP-medical office/Fachpraxis Allgemeinmedizin
Kleppingstr. 24 D 44135 Dortmund Germany
th.g.schaetzler@gmx.de
Competing interests: No competing interests

Competing interests: No competing interests

09 August 2015
Thomas Georg Schaetzler
Family Medicine Unit Public GP-medical office/Fachpraxis Allgemeinmedizin
none
Medical Center
Kleppingstr.