Hot Cheetos and Takis could land you in the emergency room

Posted at 3:02 PM, Aug 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-14 15:02:52-04

The school year is fast approaching and before long, making lunches is going to be back in the weekday routine. Doctors are alerting parents about a popular snack that could land your child in the emergency room.

Spicy snacks, like Flaming Hot Cheetos and Takis, have become so popular that you can find this red fiery powder on everything from popcorn to potato chips. Ask any kid you know -- once you start eating them -- it's tough to stop. Doctors say it could be doing serious harm to your kid’s digestive system. 

“I like them because I like spicy stuff," nine-year-old Kayla tells us.  “And Hot Cheetos are like, spicy!”

Kayla’s mom, Ja’Nett Ticer, owns Every Girlz Dream summer camp for girls five through 12.  She's very familiar with the flaming hot craze.

“The kids, I offer them a snack in the morning and the afternoon. In the morning it’s more of a healthy snack, fresh fruit. In the afternoon, I let them have more a junk food type of snack,”  Ticer explains.

“But one of the major requests that they have is the Hot Cheetos,” Ticer adds.

Could all this heat be dangerous?

WXYZ’s Dr. Partha Nandi is a gastroenterologist, and he's seen what these sizzling snacks can do.

“So, these kids are eating them and their having a lot of pain, it’s because of the amount of acid is more than the stomach and also the esophagus can handle, said Nandi.

“So bad that they end up in the emergency room.”

Just a small bag of Takis has 24 grams of fat and over twelve hundred milligrams of sodium.

“This is a high fat, processed, full of spice, that it’s to such a level it actually, increases the acid in your stomach that can damage it,” adds Nandi.

Dr. Nandi says it’s important for parents to keep an eye out for signs of stomach pain in their kids.

As for Kayla, well she has a pretty good grasp on her diet for a 9-year-old. Telling us what her favorite foods are:

“Grapes, Strawberries, and pineapples” Kayla tells us.  “First, I try to eat healthy foods then I go to snacks.”

Frito-Lay, has said previously that their snacks meet food safety regulations and that some consumers may be more sensitive to spicy foods than others. 

In a statement, Takis said their snacks are safe to eat in moderation:

We assure you that Takis are safe to eat, but should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a well-balanced diet. Takis ingredients fully comply with U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations and all of the ingredients in each flavor are listed in detail on the label. Always check the serving size before snacking.
 Doctors say moderation is the key.