Some like it hot: testosterone predicts laboratory eating behavior of spicy food

Physiol Behav. 2015 Feb:139:375-7. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2014.11.061. Epub 2014 Nov 25.


In the present study, we analyzed the relationship between eating behavior of spicy food and endogenous testosterone. Participants included 114 males between the ages of 18 and 44 recruited from the community. They were asked to indicate their preferences regarding spicy food and were then asked to season a sample of mashed potatoes with pepper sauce and salt (control substance) prior to evaluating the spiciness of the meal. A positive correlation was observed between endogenous salivary testosterone and the quantity of hot sauce individuals voluntarily and spontaneously consumed with a meal served as part of a laboratory task. In contrast, significant correlations were not observed between testosterone and behavioral preference for salty foods. This study suggests that behavioral preference for spicy food among men is related to endogenous testosterone levels.

Keywords: Capsaicin; Eating behavior; Testosterone.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Food Preferences / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Saliva / metabolism
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Testosterone / metabolism*
  • Young Adult


  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary
  • Testosterone