Scientists explore the magic of Sriracha, the 'rooster sauce'

Sriracha brings eaters pleasure by way of pain.
By Brooks Hays  |  Updated Feb. 25, 2014 at 12:20 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Sriracha hot sauce, the famous bright red "rooster sauce," has made its founder David Tran a very rich man -- and everyone else kookily obsessed.

Now, in a new video, scientists explain why. According to researchers at the American Chemical Society, Sriracha lovers are also masochists, finding pleasure by way of pain.

Sriracha has several ingredients -- including but not limited to red chilis, vinegar, garlic, salt and sugar -- but according to a recent video posted by ACS scientists, it is the red chilis and their pain-inducing spiciness that has so many bottle-squeezers helplessly addicted, squirting it on everything from noodles to hotdogs to vanilla ice cream.

In the video, scientists break down the molecular components of Sriracha. A group of molecules inside the chili peppers known as capsaicinoids are what inflict the most damage on our tastebuds. The main capsaicinoids found in Sriracha are capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin.

Capsaicinoids trigger the TRPV1 protein on our tongue and in our mouths, signaling the presence of a super spicy food to our brains. In response, our brains tell our body to pump out pain-killing endorphins and a natural high is born.

[American Chemical Society]

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