Spicy snack foods sending children to the emergency room, experts claim

The manufacturers of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos may jokingly tout their product as being “dangerously cheesy,” but some doctors argue that the slogan may not be an exaggeration.

Pediatricians are warning parents of the dangers of extremely spicy snacks – such as Cheetos and other chips – claiming these foods are sending numerous children to the emergency room each year, Medical Daily reported.  According to experts, eating too many spicy products can cause significant inflammation of the stomach lining, which can ultimately lead to severe abdominal pain.

“We have a population who loves to eat the hot, spicy, not-real foods, and they come in [to the emergency room] with these real complaints,” Dr. Martha Rivera of White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles told KABC-TV. “[The kids are being] set up for ulcerations, erosions and… peptic ulcer disease.”

Andrew Medina, 12, told KABC-TV that he eats up to 20 or 30 bags of spicy snacks each month.  After he started experiencing stomach pain, he visited a doctor, who told him that the snacks were causing gastritis – a condition associated with bloating, burning and vomiting.

Several school districts have started banning these kinds of snacks due to their lack of nutritional value.  According to Medical Daily, 21 pieces of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos contain 160 calories, 250 milligrams of sodium and 11 grams of fat.

Rivera and other experts say the addictive nature of these spicy snack products makes them popular among children.  However, she said parents should consider replacing these snacks with healthier items, like string cheese, in order to protect their children from serious health issues.

“It burns when it goes down, it burns when it comes out,” Dr. Rivera told KABC-TV.

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