Culture

The L.A. Times Rated All The Spicy Snacks From Hot Cheetos To Takis, And The Results Are Causing A Controversy On Twitter

It seems that spicy foods are everywhere these days. Every brand out there is releasing some version of their original product but in ‘flamin hot’ form, there’s an abundance of YouTube videos of people eating insanely spicy foods as if it were some sort of competition, restaurants have ‘eat it and it’s free’ contests for spicy options.

The world is obsessed with spicy food right now.

But let’s be real. Many Latino foods were the OG spicy. Many Latino chefs and even our tías and abuelas have been experimenting with some seriously spicy foods for many many years.

But now that it’s gone mainstream, the LA Times recently conducted a not so official study into which snacks are the spiciest and the results have proven to be pretty controversial.

One writer at the L.A. Times decided to sample every spicy branded snack and share his findings with the world.

Credit: @latimesfood / Twitter

In the article, he says that he’s sampled every spicy snack known to mankind (not exactly), except for the ones that he couldn’t find, that he deemed unworthy, or both.

He also calls out the haters who say all the Flamin’ Hot and spicy snacks taste the same, saying that’s simply not true. He notes the subtle differences based on combination of heat vs. flavor.

So what are his findings?

Credit: @latimesfood / Twitter

According to this LA Times Food writer, his favorite spicy snack is the Doritos Flamin’ Hot Nacho. They’re the perfect mix of cheesy and spicy and come packed with a pretty hefty kick of spice.

Next came the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Puffs which he says are packed with spicy flavor, sometimes almost too much so. The only con he had to say about these is about the texture – sometimes too much can build up in your back teeth leaving you feeling sick.

Coming in at third place is Pop Fuego Popcorn. He says the level of MSG is at a 12 and that the flavor sensation is something like being on a rollercoaster. Pop Fuego kernels are not particularly heat-heavy but they’re almost hyperbolically tangy and acidic.

The Top 3 options weren’t exactly controversial picks but the rest of the results seemed to be pretty polarizing on social media.

Credit: @ismacont / Twitter

I mean who would ever put Takis Fuego and Doritos Dinamita in a tie for 5th place?!? Or Zapp’s Spicy Cajun Crawtators ahead of Doritos Tapatío? That’s just straight up madness.

And how are the OG Flamin’ Hot Cheetos not number one?

And it’s clear that the classic battle between Hot Cheetos and Takis rages on.

Credit: @latimesfood / Twitter

But like in all honesty, will it ever go away? I hope not.

But some on Twitter were totally not having any of it.

Credit: @latimesfood / Twitter

I mean ranking #12 out of 30 isn’t too bad. But apparently still wasn’t good enough for this Flamin’ Hot Cheetos con Limon super fan…

In his write up, Lucas Peterson said these would take a back seat to Takis any day.

I mean this Twitter user was so upset they’re apparently canceling their subscription to the LA Times.

Credit: @GenePark / Twitter

Now that’s some serious feelings there.

But, to be fair, the LA Times placed Andy Capp’s Hot Fires at #27 (out of 30) and said they had an unpleasant spice mixture that tasted like powered tomato. That’s not great.

One Doritos super fan took to Twitter to notify the LA Times of a possible typo in their report.

Credit: @iamHectorDiaz / Twitter

The LA Times actually tweeted back saying: “These are pretty good and am honestly impressed how much these taste like Tapatío, they’re just not the best *spicy* snack.

Be careful, those are fighting words.

Also, just this tweet, because I’m pretty sure all of us were thinking it.

Credit: @latimesfood / Twitter

Because the panza is a real thing.

H/T: The Official Spicy Snack Power Rankings

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Load Your Tacos Up With Hot Sauce Because A New Study Shows That Eating Chilies Is Good For Your Health

Culture

Load Your Tacos Up With Hot Sauce Because A New Study Shows That Eating Chilies Is Good For Your Health

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Chilies have been hailed as a holy grail food by many for its flavor and mythic health properties. Now, researches in Italy have found that consuming chilies as a part of your regular diet can lower the risk of death from stroke and heart disease.

Researchers monitored almost 23,000 people’s health status and eating habits for over eight years. Using data pulled from the Moli-sani study which has 25,000 participants from the Molise region of southern Italy. The study found that the risk of dying from a heart attack was lower by a whopping 40 percent among the participants who reported eating chili peppers four times a week at least. The risk of death from stroke was lowered by over 50 percent.

It doesn’t matter what else you eat, as long as you eat chili peppers.

The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and demonstrated that regardless of what the individual’s broader diet was, simply the inclusion of chili peppers reduced the potential risk.

“An interesting fact is that protection from mortality risk was independent of the type of diet people followed,” Marialaura Bonaccio, an epidemiologist at the Mediterranean Neurological Institute (Neuromed) and study lead author, told CNN. “In other words, someone can follow the healthy Mediterranean diet, someone else can eat less healthily, but for all of them chili pepper has a protective effect.”
Call it a win for every country that was colonized for their spices — it’s not just the melanin! In Italy, the peppers usage has been consistent in its cuisine.
“And now, as already observed in China and in the United States, we know that the various plants of the capsicum species, although consumed in different ways throughout the world, can exert a protective action towards our health,” Licia Lacoviello, director of the department of epidemiology and prevention at Neuromed, told CNN.

Similar studies in the United States and China show that chiles are good for your health.

Lacoviello might be referencing a 2015 BMJ study that analyzed 487,375 people across 10 Chinese regions in the country. The study found that those who ate spicy foods six to seven times a week at least had 14 percent lower risks of death than participants who ate spices only once a week.
The BMJ study echoed Bonaccio’s earlier point, it suggested that people who ate spicier foods generally had poorer health habits but they still benefitted from the chilies. However, those who frequently ate chilies and excluded alcohol benefitted the most.
In 2017, a PLOS ONE study in the United States analyzed date from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey. Of the 16,179 Americans surveyed those who ate red chili peppers had a 13 percent lower death risk than those who didn’t.

So what makes these peppers slap so hard? It’s scientific.

It’s all about the spice. Peppers high capsaicin, like the spicy Carolina Reaper, were the ones that lowered the death risks in study participants.

“In general the association of sweet peppers with mortality were less strong than the ones of chili peppers, suggesting a role for capsaicin,” Bonaccio said.

Other peppers, like sweet bell peppers, which are low in capsaicin due to a recessive gene were less beneficial.

 “In a large adult Mediterranean population, regular consumption of chili pepper is associated with a lower risk of total and CVD death independent of CVD risk factors or adherence to a Mediterranean diet. Known biomarkers of CVD risk only marginally mediate the association of chili pepper intake with mortality,” the study concluded. 

However, skeptics are less enthusiastic about finding the study conclusive. Duane Mellor, a dietitian at Aston Medical School in the United Kingdom told CNN the study “does not show a causal link.” 

“It is plausible people who use chilies, as the data suggests also used more herbs and spices, and as such likely to be eating more fresh foods including vegetables,” Mellor said. “So, although chilies can be a tasty addition to our recipes and meals, any direct effect is likely to be small and it is more likely that it makes eating other healthy foods more pleasurable.”
However, the study from China noted the opposite (that people who ate spicy foods had poorer diets) and it had the largest sample of the three studies.

“This type of relationship suggests that chilies may be just a marker for some other dietary or lifestyle factor that hasn’t been accounted for but, to be fair, this kind of uncertainty is usually present in epidemiological studies, and the authors do acknowledge this,” Ian Johnson, a nutrition researcher, told CNN.

More research is needed because other factors could contribute to the observed effect, however, three studies in three different countries with very large samples are highly suggestive of the chilies’ benefits. 

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Cheetos Made Their Official Couture Debut At New York Fashion Week And It’ll Make You So Thirsty

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Cheetos Made Their Official Couture Debut At New York Fashion Week And It’ll Make You So Thirsty

New York Fashion Week is coming in hot! On Thursday Cheetos’ held their first-ever runway show inspired by the iconic snack Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Rapper Saweetie performed on the Haus of Flamin’ Haute runway. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos have become something of a cultural phenomenon after being cited as the snack food darling of the Latinx and hip hop community. 

The collection incorporates the branded iconography with of-the-moment street style. The Haus of Flamin’ Haute guests sipped on Flamin’ Hot Sunrise cocktails, sushi rolls sprinkled with Cheetos, and a beauty bar with Cheeto manicures. 

Consider throwing on a Cheetos T-shirt to honor your Latinx heritage. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos were invented by Mexican American Richard Montañez, a former custodial worker at a Frito-Lay plant. He created the unique flavor combination decades ago, and his story will be told in the Eva Longoria directed-biopic Flamin Hot. 

A song of Icy and Fire. 

“Being a childhood fan of the whole brand — Flamin’ Hots, puffs, regular Cheetos, all of them — it was just super exciting to be asked to do this,” said Saweetie told the Hollywood Reporter. “Pulling up today and seeing Cheetos’ vision come to life was amazing. Also, I was looking forward to seeing the clothes and showing off my own dope look.”

Saweetie rose to fame by posting short raps on her Instagram account in 2016, where she now has 3.5 million followers. The 26-year-old’s singles “Icy Grl,” and “My Type,” have gone viral, eventually making it into Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart. She released her debut album High Maintenance in 2018. 

“My first fashion week, which was not too long ago, I was sneaking into events and shows,” she said. “Now, I’m being asked to perform, which is really exciting. This is the first fashion week where I feel like I’ve finally got the hang of things and tonight is the perfect way to kick it off.”  

A Flamin’ Hot evening.

Cheetos’ Haus of Flamin’ Haute wasn’t just a runway show, so much as it was an installation and celebration of the snack food. Renowned costume designer Ami Goodheart and her collaborators chose to elevate the theme. The highlights included a punchy, crimson red tulle gown by J. Bolin, an orange jumpsuit from Nava Rose, and a Goodheart-designed headpiece made of Cheetos wrappers combined with a Cheeto-lined cape. 

Orange is the new black.

While the Haus of Flamin’ Haute may not be accessible to all, fans of the brand should know Cheetos and Forever 21 have recently launched a collection together.  The collaboration features branded leggings, cropped tops, bodycon dresses, socks, and bicycle shorts.

A word from Chester Cheetah.

It is no surprise that the brand is strong, considering Flamin’ Hots have been referenced in hip hop culture for years now. In 2012, Y.N.RichKids, a children’s rap crew, released the viral hit “Hot Cheetos & Takis.” Last year, Cardi clowned her husband Offset on Instagram for putting Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in his turkey sandwich. Yung Miami from City Girls detailed her snacking habits to Hot New Hip Hop, which included Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, sugar straws, and gummies. 

Cheetos is perfectly aware of their place in hip hop history. This winter Chester Cheetah dropped a Doritos diss track. “Next time you try to take what I got. Remember I’m flamin’ hot, and you’re flamin’ not,” Chester Cheetah raps. I didn’t know the chip game had so many beefs. I am perched for the drama!

How a Latinx saved Frito-Lay. 

Mexican-American Richard Montañez began working at a Frito-Lay plant in Rancho Cucamonga. It was the late ’80s and he was making $4 an hour as a custodian. At 18 years old he was unable to read and write. Following the advice of his grandfather, Montañez took pride in his job, however, overlooked it would be, he wanted to be the best. 

“Every time someone walked into a room, it would smell fresh,” he told The Hustle. “I realized there’s no such thing as ‘just a janitor’ when you believe you’re going to be the best.”

Ambitious and hardworking, Montañez made himself seen through his work. After a decade, he began shadowing superiors. While watching a salesman restock inventory, he had an epiphany: company sales were down, but there were no products made for Latinxs. 

I saw our products on the shelves and they were all plain: Lay’s, Fritos, Ruffles,” he recalls. “And right next to these chips happened to be a shelf of Mexican spices… nothing spicy or hot.”

Eventually, Montañez, through a combination of naivety and fearlessness, snagged a meeting with the CEO. They were sold on his new flavor. Today he is Vice President of multicultural sales for PespiCo America (the company that owns Frito-Lay). Latinxs don’t have fairy tales, we have hard work and our wits. 

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