The spicy and tangy goodness of Takis can make many of you wonder whether these tempting fiery snacks can burn a hole in your stomach, primarily when you have heard such rumors or myths.
Such worries are natural when many claims are circulating on social media or in casual conversations. Yet, they can prevent you from enjoying your favorite snack.
In this well-researched blog post, we’ll look closer at the truth behind these claims and explore the actual reasons behind stomach ulcers and Takis’ connection with them.
So, keep reading to enjoy your favorite snack and health at the same time.
What Does Developing a Hole in Stomach Mean?
When people talk about developing a “hole in the stomach,” they’re usually referring to a medical condition called an ulcer.
An ulcer is like a sore or wound on the inside lining of your stomach or the upper part of your small intestine. These sores can be painful and cause discomfort.
Now, here’s the thing: ulcers don’t create a hole that goes through your stomach. Instead, they’re more like shallow craters on the inside. But if they get really bad or aren’t treated, they can cause serious problems. Sometimes, they can even lead to symptoms like:
- Burning or gnawing pain in the abdomen, usually between meals or at night
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bloating or feeling full quickly after eating
- Unintentional weight loss
- Dark, tarry stools (indicating bleeding)
It can cause a medical emergency.
What Causes Stomach Ulcers, aka. Hole?
Ulcers can happen for a few reasons, out of which three leading causes of stomach ulcers:
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection
This is a bacterium that lives in the stomach. It can damage the stomach lining and make it more susceptible to ulcers. H. pylori infection is the most common cause of stomach ulcers, accounting for about 90% of cases.
Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
NSAIDs are medications that reduce pain and inflammation. They can damage the stomach lining and make it more susceptible to ulcers. NSAIDs are the second most common cause of stomach ulcers, accounting for about 20% of cases.
Certain main ingredients
Some food ingredients can irritate the stomach lining directly. These include spicy foods (with chili pepper or extracts and other harmful ingredients like citric acid, sodium citrate, and MSG), fatty foods, citrus fruits, carbonated beverages, alcohol, coffee, and high-sugar foods. These ingredients can cause inflammation or damage the stomach lining, leading to pain, nausea, and vomiting.
Other less common causes of stomach ulcers include:
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome: This is a rare condition that causes the body to produce too much stomach acid.
- Stress: Stress can contribute to the development of stomach ulcers, but it is not the main cause.
- Smoking: Smoking can damage the stomach lining and make it more susceptible to ulcers.
- Alcohol abuse: Alcohol can irritate the stomach lining and make it easier to get ulcers.
- Certain medications: Some medications, such as steroids and chemotherapy drugs, can increase the risk of developing stomach ulcers.
Difference Between Burning Sensation vs. Actual Damage
Here’s the crucial part: that burning sensation is temporary and not the same as causing real harm to your stomach. It’s like when you eat a hot pepper—it might make your mouth feel like it’s on fire, but it won’t actually burn your mouth.
Your stomach has a protective lining that shields it from the food and liquids you consume. While Takis can be spicy, they won’t burn through this protective lining to harm your stomach if eaten moderately. The burning feeling you experience is more like a “spicy sensation” rather than actual damage. Yet, actual damage can also happen if eat like those lunatics you watch on social media (pardon me).
What Are Takis?
Now, let’s understand what Takis are. Takis is a famous brand of rolled corn tortilla chips that originated in Mexico and is known for its intense flavors and extreme spiciness. They come in various flavors, with “Fuego” being one of the most famous due to its fiery chili and lime seasoning.
What are Some Potentially Harmful Ingredients in Takis?
To determine whether Takis can harm your stomach, examining their potentially harmful ingredients and in what quantities they can cause damage is essential.
Takis comprise several ingredients common or specific to flavors: some of these can corn masa flour, vegetable oil, salt, maltodextrin, citric acid, sugar, monosodium glutamate, hydrolyzed soy protein, onion powder, yeast extract, artificial colors, baking soda, soybean oil, chili pepper extract) Sodium citrate, TBHQ (antioxidant), and additives.
Now the question arises: What ingredients, among these, can harm your stomach, and in what quantity?
Chili Pepper Extract
Spicy ingredients like chili pepper extract can irritate the stomach lining, especially in large quantities. They may lead to symptoms like heartburn, indigestion, or a burning sensation in the stomach.
Likewise, concentrated chili pepper extract might irritate the stomach lining, worsen existing ulcers, or cause discomfort. It can happen if you consume chili extract in large quantities, like overindulging in Takis.
TBHQ is a synthetic antioxidant generally considered safe when consumed in small amounts. Extremely high doses of TBHQ could potentially irritate the stomach; such levels are rarely found in everyday foods (except that you consume TBHQ-containing food in large quantities). Therefore, the regular consumption of foods containing TBHQ is unlikely to be a significant factor in the development of stomach ulcers.
Hydrolyzed soy protein
Hydrolyzed soy protein is a type of protein that is made by breaking down soy protein into smaller molecules. It works as a flavoring agent or thickener in processed foods. Some people who are allergic to soy may experience stomach upset after consuming hydrolyzed soy protein. In these cases, the allergic reaction may cause inflammation of the stomach lining, which could lead to ulcers.
Citric acid is a natural acid obtained from many foods, including citrus fruits, tomatoes, and vinegar. It also works as a preservative or flavoring agent in processed foods.
Citric acid (being acid) can irritate the stomach lining in some people, especially those with sensitive stomachs, or when consumed in high amounts.
Sodium citrate is a salt that is used as a preservative and acidity regulator in food. It can cause stomach upset in some people.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
MSG is a flavor enhancer that can cause digestive discomfort in some people. It can lead them to experience symptoms like headaches, nausea, and stomach upset. While not harmful to everyone, some individuals are more sensitive to MSG.
The term “additives” is quite broad and can encompass various chemicals used in food processing. Some food additives may have a laxative effect or cause digestive discomfort in sensitive individuals.
How Can Takis Cause Stomach Discomfort or Ulcers?
From the above discussion about the Takis ingredients, it’s apparent that all of the above-mentioned ingredients can cause temporary stomach discomfort or harm the stomach lining when consumed overly (what we call an ulcer).
Most of the internet discussion regards Takis as less likely to cause such damage commonly.
They’re not true because they refer to each ingredient’s role in stomach damage individually. When eating Takis or any other hot snacks, you’re taking all such ingredients collectively, so the damage is.
What does it mean?
If you take a pinch of citric acid or chili extract daily, you might find it harmless. Now think about taking all such ingredients collectively, about half or 1 teaspoon…. On average, a regular-sized bag of Takis (usually around 4 ounces or 113 grams) contains approximately 2-3 grams of seasoning.
In a bag of Takis or any such snacks, you get almost the same amount of all such seasonings.
Now how quickly one can develop stomach problems depends on how many Takis or how many bags of Takis you eat regularly. Or what other risky snacks you eat along with Takis because some ingredients like seasonings and preservatives are common in many snacks or processed foods.
At this point, don’t forget the addictive part of Takis–some people may eat more Takis than others. So, you can multiply how much harmful seasoning they’re consuming daily.
So, can Takis Burn a Hole in your Stomach?
Yes, when eaten excessively, like 3 to 10 bags of Takis a day, the Takis can damage your stomach and lead to ulcers, what you call stomach holes, in layman’s terms (even gastrointestinal perforations). So, the higher the quantity of Takis means higher consumption of harmful seasonings, and the higher the chances are for harmful effects.
But, if you eat 1 bag of Takis daily or even occasionally, the chances of such side effects are minimal.
Tips for Enjoying a Bag of Takis without Upsetting Your Stomach
If you want to enjoy Takis regularly without annoying your dear stomach, a few tips can help you:
Moderation is Key
The most crucial tip is to enjoy Takis in moderation. Eating a small serving as an occasional treat is less likely to cause stomach discomfort than consuming an entire bag in one sitting. Pay attention to the serving size suggested on the packaging.
Takis are known for being spicy, and spicy foods can make you thirsty. Drinking plenty of water while eating Takis can help soothe the burning sensation and prevent dehydration.
Don’t Eat Them on an Empty Stomach
Eating Takis when your stomach is empty can increase the likelihood of digestive discomfort. Try having a small meal or snack before enjoying Takis to provide a buffer for your stomach.
Take your time to savor the flavors and chew your Takis slowly. This can help your digestive system process the spicy snack more easily and reduce the risk of overindulgence.
Limit Other Spicy Foods
If you plan to eat Takis, avoiding other extremely spicy foods on the same day might be a good idea. Combining multiple spicy foods can intensify stomach discomfort.
Know Your Limits
Everyone’s tolerance for spicy foods varies. If you find that Takis constantly upset your stomach, it’s essential to listen to your body and consume them less frequently or in smaller amounts.
Consider Your Sensitivities
If you have pre-existing stomach issues like acid reflux, gastritis, or ulcers, be mindful of how spicy foods like Takis affect you. In such cases, it might be best to consult a healthcare professional for personalized dietary advice.
Avoid Eating Too Close to Bedtime
Eating spicy foods late at night can sometimes lead to indigestion or disrupted sleep. Try to enjoy Takis earlier in the day to give your body more time to digest them.
Remember that everyone’s digestive system is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Pay attention to your body’s signals, and if you consistently experience discomfort after eating Takis, enjoy them less frequently or in smaller portions to keep your stomach happy.
Takis are undeniably spicy and can cause a temporary burning sensation in your mouth and stomach; they’re unlikely to burn a hole in your stomach when consumed in moderation–in high amounts, they can lead towards persistent digestive issues even serious ones like digestive perforations.
The key to enjoying Takis or any other spicy snack is to do so sensibly and be mindful of your tolerance levels and any underlying stomach conditions you may have.
As with any aspect of your diet, balance, and moderation are essential for maintaining good digestive health. So, go ahead and savor the fiery goodness of Takis, but do so in a way that keeps your stomach happy and healthy.