Meet ‘Iron Guts’, the Man Who Once Ate a Kilo of the World’s Hottest Peppers

Gregory ‘Iron Guts’ Barlow holds the Guinness record for most Carolina reaper Peppers eaten in a single sitting, 160. The Carolina Reaper is the world’s hottest chili pepper, by far.

Melbourne-based Greg Barlow doesn’t even like eating chili peppers or hot sauce, but he loves the attention it earns him, and he’s willing to put his stomach on the line for it. After getting acquainted with the burning sensation of eating one or more Carolina Reapers, Barlow approached the League of Fire, an organization that ranks the most badass chili eaters on the planet in various categories. One of the toughest challenges any competitive hot pepper eater can undertake is eating the most Carolina Reaper peppers in one sitting, but Iron Guts Barlow went straight for it, in his quest to become world champion.

Photo: P.Podkowa/Wikimedia Commons

“I decided I wanted to be the world champion,” Greg Barlow told Beat Magazine. “The people that organize this, the League of Fire, said that if I want my shot at the top I would have to prove myself by doing their little challenges or do more comps. The challenges would give me some points but I would have to do a lot of them. So, I did the biggest, craziest challenge out there and ate a bucket load of the world’s hottest chilies – the Carolina Reaper.”

Developed by American breeder Ed Curry, the Carolina Reaper pepper is rated at an average 1.64 million Scoville Heat Units – hundreds of times hotter than jalapeno peppers and hotter than any other pepper breed known to mad. Eating 160 of them, or just under a kilogram, is no small feat, but Greg Barlow would not let anything stand between it and his world record.


“I don’t like chili and I don’t train,” Gregory ‘Iron Guts’ Barlow said. “This stuff hurts! Why would I do it more than I have to? “I did ask a doc before I got the world record for eating the most Carolina Reapers in one sitting. The previous record was 121 (714g) held by an American, and I managed to eat 160 (953g). I’m really upset about not eating 1kg but I didn’t want the chillies sitting in my gut.”

“I registered my name with the League of Fire as Gregory ‘My butt is burning’ Barlow,” the extreme eater said. “But one of my friends came up with ‘Iron guts’, and, well the name just stuck. I don’t think – wait up – I know I don’t have iron guts! When I eat it, it burns for days.”


On May 1st, 2022, Gregory ‘Iron Guts’ Barlow managed to set a new Guinness Record and secure first place in the League of Fire after consuming no less than 160 Carolina Reaper peppers in one sitting. His record hasn’t been beaten since, and judging by the toughness of the event, it’s tough to see anyone besting it.