Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Too Addictive To Be Served In School

By Amir Khan on October 17, 2012 10:33 AM EDT

Cheetos
Flamin' Hot Cheetos are too addictive for school, educators are saying, and many districts are taking steps to ban the snack from its hallways. (Photo: Frito-Lay)

Flamin' Hot Cheetos are too addictive for school, educators are saying, and many districts are taking steps to ban the snack from its hallways.

The debate over whether to ban Flamin' Hot Cheetos from schools began in Lyndon B. Johnson Middle School in Albuquerque, N.M., after a health teacher sent a note home with students saying that the snack is one that should be eaten at home, not in schools. The unnamed-teacher wrote home and said that the snack not only had poor nutritional value, but was causing students to leave red fingerprints all over the halls.

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But the health teacher isn't then only one concerned about Flamin' Hot Cheetos. Districts in California and New Mexico are attempting to ban the snack as well, and one district in Illinois no longer sells it in schools.

"If children were to bring in snacks that are high in fat, high in calories, that's their choice," Robert Willis, interim superintendent at Illinois' Rockford School District, said, according to CBS News. "We're not going to be providing those kinds of foods."

One serving of Flamin' Hot Cheetos, approximately 21 pieces, has 160 calories, with 17 percent of the daily recommended serving of fats and 8 percent of saturated fat. In addition, each serving contains 250 mg of sodium - 10 percent of the daily recommended serving.

But aside from its little, if any, nutritional value, experts warn that Flamin' Hot Cheetos could be addictive as well.

"It's something that has been engineered so that it is fattier and saltier and more novel to the point where our body, brain and pleasure centers react to it more strongly than if we were eating, say, a handful of nuts," Ashley Gearhardt, an assistant professor of clinical psychology at the University of Michigan, told the Chicago Tribune. "Going along with that, we are seeing those classic signs of addiction, the cravings and loss of control and preoccupation with it."

However, she doesn't blame Frito-Lay for creating such an irresistible snack.

"I don't blame them for creating it," she said. "I think there is a lot of competition to create ... the most rewarding and potentially addictive product possible so people crave it and they want to buy another bag."

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