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We Asked A Gastroenterologist If Hot Cheetos Can Give You A Stomach Ulcer

Are Flamin' Hot Cheetos bad for you? The rapper Lil Xan said he went to the hospital after eating the snacks.

Posted on September 28, 2018, at 8:59 a.m. ET

This is Lil Xan, a rapper who recently went to the hospital after eating a bunch of Hot Cheetos.

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He shared the incident in an Instagram story.

“I went to the hospital today,” he said, according to HipHopDX.

“You know, getting ready to pack for this tour. i just want to let everybody know I was in the hospital — not due to any drugs — but I guess I ate too many Hot Cheetos and I guess it ripped something in my stomach open, so I puked a little blood...”

This is not the first time that people who have eaten Flamin' Hot Cheetos have said that the orange dust–covered snacks may have been responsible for their subsequent need to seek health care.

Earlier this year, a Tennessee mom said her teen daughter’s 4-bag-a-week snack habit, which included eating hot chips like Cheetos and Takis, may have contributed to her need for a gallbladder removal surgery.

And back in 2012, there were concerns that the snacks were leading to unnecessary trips to the emergency room because parents were mistaking the red dye in the snacks, which can make your stool look red, for blood.

In fact, gastrointestinal bleeding is serious and should be checked out. For example, vomiting blood can be a symptom of a stomach ulcer. Ulcers can happen when there is damage to the stomach lining, which is what protects your body from the stomach acid that digests your food. Blood vessels around the stomach can also be affected, which can sometimes cause vomit to look like it’s bloody or contains coffee grounds.

Stomach ulcers are generally caused by prolonged treatment with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which include over-the counter pain relievers like aspirin, Advil, or Motrin; an infection with a type of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), or sometimes a combination of the two.

The most common symptom of a stomach ulcer is a burning pain when you have an empty stomach, which may get better when you eat or take an antacid. The pain may come and go, and you can also have bloating, burping, or feel sick to your stomach or vomit.

Spicy foods can certainly aggravate ulcers, but they don't cause them, explained Dr. Rabia De Latour, a gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at New York University Langone Health, who did not treat Lil Xan.

“Some people are just more sensitive to spicy food, and it can exacerbate symptoms that are already present,” she told BuzzFeed News.


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“It's a sensational story, but the poor guy probably just had an ulcer,” said De Latour.

She also noted that different people handle spicy food differently, so Lil Xan may have been unlucky.

“Some people can tolerate spicy food just fine with ulcer disease, but other people can not,” she said.

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Frito-Lay, the maker of Cheetos, for comment.


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