You've probably heard by now of the child sent to the emergency room for eating "Flaming Hot" Cheetos, but the incident is not likely to slow down America's obsession with hot, spicy snacks and foods.
Whether its the jalapeno or infamous ghost chili, Americans love to put it on everything from burgers to chicken wings.
Baylor dietician Kristi King says like anything, moderation is key. The sick child admitting to eating 20-30 bags of Cheetos each month.
“Consuming large amounts of those can really irritate the lining of the stomach and cause ulcers later on, which can set them up for abdominal pain, bloating and even vomiting,” Dr. King tells KTRH News.
“We're not really sure if its the actual pepper or pepper flavoring,” King says of the “Flaming Hot” Cheetos. “But something is going on with these kids.”
However, local hot sauce expert James Wreck with iBurn disputes any danger associated with snack foods, adding they don't score high enough on the Scoville scale which measures heat of chili peppers.
Either way, business is booming with spicy food lovers across Houston.
“We call them chili heads, and they love it. They want to consume all of the different kinds of spicy products,” says Wreck. “But its not only about the heat, there's amazing flavor that comes with a lot of these chilies.”
For the real die hards, Wreck says try the Carolina Reaper, which recently earned hottest chili pepper by the Guinness Book of Records.
“Unless you've got a really high chili tolerance, its going to get the eyes watering, its going to get the nose running, you're going to feel like you're going to die, but its only temporary,” he says.
Wreck suggests starting off low with a jalapeno and working your way up. He says whole milk is the best remedy if you've bitten off to much you can chew.