This Popular Snack Is Sending Kids To The Hospital

Parents, you have a new food to be concerned about when it comes to the health of your children. While some children shy away from spicy foods, others can’t get enough of them. But it turns out the spicy foods in your pantry could be dangerous to your child.

Emergency room doctors have been treating children who have developed gastritis – a painful inflammation or erosion of the stomach lining. The root cause?

Flamin’ Hot Crunchy Cheetos.

Dr. Martha Rivera from White Memorial Medical Center said on any given day, she sees five or more cases of kids with gastritis, due to eating spicy chips and candies. “We have a population who loves to eat the hot spicy, not real foods, and they come in with these real complaints,” she said.

After weeks of experiencing on-and-off stomach pain, 12-year-old Andrew Medina told his mom he needed to see a doctor. Medina eats bags of spicy chips and snacks on a regular basis. He estimated that he eats about 20-30 bags per month.

Gastritis Caused By Spicy Cheetos

Gastritis is described as an inflammation, erosion or irritation of the lining of the stomach. It can come on suddenly or very gradually. In some cases, gastritis can lead to ulcers and an increased risk of stomach cancer.

Symptoms include:

  • Gnawing or burning ache or pain (indigestion) in your upper abdomen
  • A feeling of fullness in your upper abdomen after eating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Hiccups

Doctors and pediatricians worldwide are claiming that hot Cheetos and other spicy snacks are causing preventable emergency room visits. Dr. Rivera explained that the artificially flavored spicy chips can increase acidity in the delicate lining of the stomach. “It burns when it goes down, it burns when it comes out,” she said.

Flamin’ Hot Crunchy Cheetos are spicy enough to change the pH balance of a child’s stomach, which leads to developing gastritis.

Dr. Robert Glatter is an emergency room physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. He said he believed that the flavoring coating the chips and snacks could be what’s causing the stomach pH to change. Glatter explained, “It’s almost like a food addiction. They seek out the burn…It’s like ‘how much can I tolerate?’ and I’ve seen a number of children who eat four or five bags and come in screaming in pain.

Several school districts have banned the snacks due to their poor nutritional content. While Frito Lay has not responded to this recent issue, they did release a statement about the school bans. They said the company is “committed to responsible and ethical marketing practices, which includes not marketing out products to children ages 12 and under.”