Our objective was to analyze the association between consumption of hot red chili peppers and mortality, using a population-based prospective cohort from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) III, a representative sample of US noninstitutionalized adults, in which participants were surveyed from 1988 to 1994. The frequency of hot red chili pepper consumption was measured in 16,179 participants at least 18 years of age. Total and cause-specific mortality were the main outcome measures. During 273,877 person-years of follow-up (median 18.9 years), a total of 4,946 deaths were observed. Total mortality for participants who consumed hot red chili peppers was 21.6% compared to 33.6% for those who did not (absolute risk reduction of 12%; relative risk of 0.64). Adjusted for demographic, lifestyle, and clinical characteristics, the hazard ratio was 0.87 (P = 0.01; 95% Confidence Interval 0.77, 0.97). Consumption of hot red chili peppers was associated with a 13% reduction in the instantaneous hazard of death.Does this show that eating chili peppers will make you healthier? No. What is shows is that healthier people eat more chili peppers.
Sick people don't like spicy food. Some of them are so sick that they soon die. As a result, the numbers show that people eating chili peppers live longer. This is really not complicated. But we have professional dietary "scientists" claiming the reverse and getting their results into peer-reviewed publications, complete with P values and confidence intervals.
Maybe I'm wrong and they are right, but I would bet on my interpretation because literally dozens of claims like this have been made for the health effects of various foods, and hardly any of them have been verified.
And you wonder why so many people have no respect for science.