It's been more than a year since schools in California, Illinois and New Mexico banned the sale of Flamin' Hot Cheetos on campus, but the pungent Plano-made snack food is still the source of trouble for kids. New evidence suggests that eating several bags of the stuff can cause, along with all the other things that make doing so a bad idea, gastritis, a painful inflammation or swelling of the stomach lining.
ABC News reports that more and more emergency rooms are seeing children and adults come in with gastritis after eating bags of spicy snacks like but not limited to Flamin' Hot Cheetos (did you know there are spicy Funyuns?)
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The boy interviewed by ABC claims to eat 20 to 30 bags of Flamin' Hot Cheetos a months, a fact that by itself is stomach-churning. Dr. Robert Glatter, an ER doctor in New York, said he believes the inflammation is caused by the flavoring itself that covers the chips and snacks and not simply the level of spiciness. As an example he explains that there are no cases of people coming in after eating too much salsa, but then again salsa isn't addictive enough to get kids to eat it in as much volume as snacks like Cheetos.
Los Angeles-based pediatrician Dr. Martha Rivera sees five to six children with gastritis daily, saying she serves a community that loves to eat "the hot spicy, not real foods" that cause these kinds of problems.
Plano-based Frito Lay, which produces Cheetos, responded to the initial school ban saying that the company is committed "committed to responsible and ethical practices, which includes not marketing our products to children age 12 and under." Cheetos ads have certainly taken a drier tone lately. But it's hard to imagine what market a cartoon cheetah is meant to cater to besides 12 and under.
"Parents should be aware of this. These products are not healthy and some children seem to become addicted," Glatter told ABC, firing the starter pistol for Internet commenters to decide who's most to blame. Is it Frito Lay for making the product? Parents for not teaching moderation? Or it is the kids for not knowing how to nut up and take the heat? You tell us, Internet.