It’s Super bowl week, and time to indulge in guilty junk-food pleasures. In respect of this American tradition, i’m dedicating my article this week to Flamin’ hot Cheetos, America’s worst junk food for kids.

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In the pediatric ER we talk around the “Flamin’ warm Cheetos Sign” – once a son comes in with ab pain and also has glowing red dust on your fingers, it’s probably the Flamin’ hot Cheetos. For several years I have seen occasional youngsters in the ER with concern for “blood in your poop,” only to find out the the red discoloration of their stool is as result of eating entire bags of Flamin’ warm Cheetos. The hot pepper summer sprouts in this product can additionally cause abdominal muscle pain and also burning. Children eat numerous other junk foods, however Flamin’ warm Cheetos is the only product I have actually seen bring kids come the ER. Why? due to the fact that kids eat the whole bag, not simply a tiny snack bag, but the whole big bag. And then castle still want more. V 39 grams the fat per serving, plus tons of man-made color and burning spices, that no surprise they cause gastrointestinal upset and slimy red poop.

Yet the youngsters keep eat them, and just can not stop. What renders Flamin’ hot Cheetos for this reason addictive? Why are they various from other junk foods?


No one knows for sure, but our best medical hypothesis is that Flamin’ warm Cheetos seeks is in reality a kind of gentle opiate addiction. Really, opiates. Here’s how: the red pepper sort of freckles in Flamin’ warm Cheetos causes a burning sensation in the gastrointestinal track. Capsaicin is the organic chemical in warm peppers that provides them hot. Our body has actually capsaicin receptors the respond to pepper spice as well as heat. In other words, our body interpret warm pepper summer sprouts irritation as a kind of burn. In solution to this burn, our body release natural opioids that space normal neurotransmitters dubbed “endogenous opioids,” or “endorphins.” and also opiates make us feel good. Mix in just the right mix of salt, sugar, and fat, and also you have actually a snack engineered come taste good and then keep you feeling good. Until the opiates space gone. Climate you should eat more.

This habit-forming kind of food is what David Kessler, MD, former FDA commissioner has actually termed, “hyperpalatable.” these are foodstuffs that provide such a rewarding experience that we store coming ago for more. Sugar, salt, and also fat sloop down can likewise cause relax of herbal opiates, i m sorry is why therefore many world binge on ice cream cream, potato chips and also other timeless junk foods. However Flamin’ warm Cheetos add to the burning sensation, which may maximize the opiate release.

Now market these hyperpalatable-opioid-releasing snacks come kids and what execute you get? much more than 5 million YouTube views. In august a team of children in one after-school program made a video clip about Flamin’ warm Cheetos and a comparable snack, “Talkis.”

The red dust that covers Flamin’ warm Cheetos reasons red staining ~ above fingers, clothes, walls, and just around everything else. “Hands red favor Elmo,” they say in the YouTube video. This janitorial nuisance has actually caused numerous schools to half Flamn’ hot Cheetos. Various other schools room asking children to take, “Flamin’ warm Cheetos Pledges,” in which castle vow not to eat them for one week, or also one day. One school reported kids turning in pledge cards v red finger prints on them.

In 2010 I composed my very first post around Flamin’ warm Cheetos . For about two years among the significant Google search stings the landed people on the blog to be “Flamin’ warm Cheetos gain red stain out.” (For the record, i don’t know how to clean red stains from Flamin’ warm Cheetos.) then Monica Eng of the Chicago tribune broke the Flamin’ warm Cheetos story in October 2012 to the traditional press ns am honored she determined to near her short article with a quote native me.

As i told Ms. Eng, Flamin’ warm Cheetos to represent a opportunity for us, as parents, come teach the meaning of gluttony and self-control. And also a class in technique can last a lifetime.

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As parents, though, ns think we should take this issue of habit-forming snack food to one more level. Marketers invest billions attracting youngsters to junk food they expect will become a lifelong guilty pleasure. Yet the life-long cost to her children’s health and wellness is high. Together parents, we should advocate because that our children and also get Flamin’ warm Cheetos and also other similar snack foodstuffs out of the hand of children too young come practice proper self-control. This is what i’ve done and also you can do too:

Talk to her school, ask because that Flamin’ hot Cheetos and similar hyperpalatable foods be gotten rid of from the a la carte line and/or vending machines. Better yet, ask castle to eliminate the vending machines all-together.Limit display screen time—you will instantly reduce your kids’ exposure to junk food marketing.Advocate for limited marking of junk food towards kids. The Disney channel recently stopped airing junk food ads. Write a letter come Nickeloden, Cartoon Network, or your child’s favorite channel and also ask lock to avoid marketing junk food.Stop purchase it. Make your residence junk food-free. You might even need a family pledge.

What have actually you excellent to mitigate kids’ junk food exposure? What’s her Flamin’ warm Cheetos story?