Q: Dear Dave,
My son is doing a science project involving hot sauce. He knows that capsaicin makes a pepper hot, but what "stops the hot?” We have heard that dairy is best, but what we don’t know why.
Thanks for your help,
Alice and son
A: Hello Alice:
Information I have says that the protein casein in dairy products somehow strips the capsaicin molecules from the taste buds. But since capsaicin is miscible with fat, it could be that the fat in dairy products is diluting the capsaicin. This is indeed a great idea for a science project!–Dave