Mom Blames Daughter’s Gallbladder Issues on Spicy Snacks

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Takis)

If you’re eating a bag of Takis or Hot Cheetos right now, you might want to lick the radioactive-looking dust off your fingers and read this. A 17-year-old in Memphis, Tennessee, recently had her gallbladder removed, and her mom is suggesting that super-spicy chips might’ve been one of the reasons why. “When my daughter had to have this surgery, I knew I had to tell everybody about it,” Rene Craighead told WREG.

Craighead said that her daughter ate around four “big bags” of flamin’ snacks every week, a habit that continued until she started having serious stomach pains. “She loves them. Every time I go out she says, ‘Bring me back some Hot Takis, bring me back some Hot Chips,'” Craighead said. “I want to make her happy, so I brought them back.”

Dr. Cary Cavender, a gastroenterologist at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, said that although gallbladder issues can be caused by an assortment of factors, a heavy Taki-habit might’ve contributed. He told the news station that the hospital “probably [sees] around 100 kids a month” with stomach or digestive issues due to these hot chips.

Dr. Yvonne Juarez, the chief of pediatrics at Kaiser Permanente-Fresno, was less charitable, calling the snacks “processed fire.” Several years ago, she was already warning parents that these maybe weren’t the best foods for kids to shove into their mouths. “[Children] get stomach aches, sometimes so terrible they’re doubled over in pain,” she told the Fresno Bee. “I’ve had patients go to the ER because of it. It’s insane, absolutely insane.”

Both chip manufacturers have more or less shrugged Craighead’s accusations off. “We assure you that Takis are safe to eat, but should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a well-balanced diet. Takis ingredients fully comply with U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations, and all of the ingredients in each flavor are listed in detail on the label,” a Takis spokesperson told WREG.

“At Frito-Lay, food safety is always our number one priority, and our snacks meet all applicable food safety regulations as well as our rigorous quality standards. Some consumers may be more sensitive to spicy foods than others and may choose to avoid spicier snacks due to personal preference,” Frito-Lay, the manufacturer of Hot Cheetos, said.

So snack at your own risk, I guess — regardless of your age.