Health

Doctors Warn Parents About Flamin' Hot Cheetos

| by Sheena Vasani

Medical professionals generally warn parents to be careful feeding their children processed foods -- but there's one popular brand of chips that doctors are specifically worried about.

Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann from St. Louis Children's Hospital explains certain ingredients in Flamin' Hot Cheetos can be especially harmful, reports CBS.

These snacks are not just high in processed foods and saturated salts -- their spices can allegedly do a number on one's gastrointestinal and colon health in both children and adults alike.

"A number of patients who have consumed these Cheetos in excess have complained of pain in their upper abdomen, rising up into their chest," Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency medicine physician for Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, said.

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So strong is the body's response to the chips, eating too much has even sent some to the hospital.

The snack's red dye can produce red stool some may confuse for blood. Such change has reportedly frightened some straight to the hospital -- yet thankfully, it is not a sign of real danger.

While doctors explain these symptoms only develop if one overeats the snack, that might be exactly what is happening, which should be a concern for some parents.

Many might argue the ingredients -- ranging from sugar to saturated fats -- make the Cheetos addictive for a demographic already low in self-control.

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"It's something that has been engineered so that it is fattier and saltier and more novel to the point where our body, brain and pleasure centers react to it more strongly than if we were eating, say, a handful of nuts," said Ashley Gearhardt, an assistant professor of clinical psychology at the University of Michigan, about the addictive nature of Flamin' Hot Cheetos, reports the Chicago Tribune. "Going along with that, we are seeing those classic signs of addiction, the cravings and loss of control and preoccupation with it."

In response, many schools have tried banning Flamin' Hot Cheetos from being eaten on campus.

"If we see Hot Cheetos, we confiscate them -- sometimes after the child has already eaten most of them," said Rita Exposito, principal of Jackson Elementary School in California. 

Despite the dangers and all of these warnings, however, the snack remains popular.

"It's my No. 1 seller," said Ali Bawazir, who owns Touchdown Food Mart in Illinois. "Kids get 'em for breakfast too. They're crazy about them."

Sources: CBSChicago Tribune / Photo credit: Frito-Lay North America, Inc.

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