Flamin’ Hot Cheetos were the topic of some controversy last year around this time after several schools around the country banned them from the premises, saying they were too high in fat and salt and were apparently addictive to kids. Now, one Los Angeles doctor says that the spicy snack is causing a spate of gastritis in young people.
Dr. Martha Rivera of White Memorial Medical Center says that she’s seen several cases of it in children who complain of pain in their side and end up in the emergency room. As the stomach lining becomes inflamed–it can even begin to erode–bloating, sharp pain, vomiting and hiccups can occur.
“We have a population who loves to eat the hot spicy, not real foods, and they come in with these real complaints,” Dr. Rivera said. “You set up for ulcerations, erosions and so you can set up to get peptic ulcer disease in these children.”
The snacks gave several people a scare around the time they were being banned last year because the red dye used on the chips was causing the same colored stool, leading some to believe it was blood. In addition to the health worries, school officials said they were tired of the “red fingerprints” they were finding everywhere. Mostly, however, the snacks were too often taking the place of a healthy lunch.
“We don’t allow candy, and we don’t allow Hot Cheetos,” said Rita Exposito, principal of Jackson Elementary School in Pasadena, California. “We don’t encourage other chips, but if we see Hot Cheetos, we confiscate them — sometimes after the child has already eaten most of them. It’s mostly about the lack of nutrition.”
Image: Cheetos/Frito Lay