The fiery Flamin’ Hot Cheetos snack is being banned at some schools for creating a brain response similar to that seen in individuals that are addicted to illicit substances. Doctors have a problem with them because after serious consumption some children end up at the emergency room unnecessarily.
School districts in New Mexico, California and Illinois have already taken a stand against the snack for its lack of nutritional value and addictive qualities. Medical professionals allege that the there are additional health risks involved.
Large amounts of dye that is used to give the snack its traditional red color can also turn the stool of heavy users red or orange. What is constant in such cases is that when the parents or children see the colored stool, they become alarmed and in a panic rush to the hospital’s emergency room.
Experts have agreed that thus far, there usually isn’t something that is probably wrong.
“Food such as beets or red peppers can make stool appear red, however it is not actually blood in the stool,” Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency medicine physician for Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, told CBSNews.com.
Cheetos are not the only culprits of changing stool color, other foods with dyes that have also been reported to cause red stool include the dye found in red velvet cake.
The health risk does not stop at eating the snack. St. Louis Children’s Hospital pediatrician Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann pointed out to CBS station KMOX-TV that when there is red coloration in the stool, a person has to eat large quantities and it may be the sign of another health risk — over-eating.
“So even though we might eat some foods with red food dye in them regularly, our stool doesn’t usually become discolored unless you eat huge amounts of it,” Berchelmann said. “Flamin’ Hot Cheetos is one food that people will eat enormous amounts of and will see a change in their stool.”
Problems after the consumption of kids who eat Flamin’ Hot Cheetos that send them to the ER go beyond red stool.
“A number of patients who have consumed these Cheetos in excess have complained of pain in their upper abdomen, rising up into their chest, likely due to due to the red peppers and spice contained in the snack,” Glatter said.
People with a history of GERD or gastroesophageal reflux, a condition that may cause heartburn and acid reflux, are advised to avoid the spicy treat because according to medical professional because their conditions can flare-up.
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