Spicy sweets, with sweet or salty taste, have been making their way onto newsstands for a few years and are becoming more and more popular among the children’s population. This is a cause for concern for moms, dads, and other adults with children in their care, who wonder whether these products could have a negative impact on their health. Is spicy food harmful for children? Should they avoid it? If yes, till what age?
In our environment it was unimaginable that spicy sweets could exist for children, but for some years now it has been a reality. We’re not talking about gummies that contain “pica-pica,” which is usually nothing more than a mixture of salt and sugar, but about truly spicy products. Some with a sweet taste, such as chili-like gummies, and others, more successful, with a salty taste, such as Breakfast Of corn.
What is spicy?
Despite what many people think, Spicy is not a taste but a feeling. We experience the basic tastes, sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami, primarily through the taste buds located on our tongue.
However, The trigeminal nerve interferes with the perception of sharpness., which is responsible for transmitting that sensation to our brain. It is also responsible for transmitting other sensations, such as the freshness we feel when we eat peppermint candy or the stiffness we experience when we drink tea. That’s why they are all called Trigeminal sensations.
Spice exists more than we think
What we call “spicy” encompasses many senses, such as Pain, sharpness, burning, heat or irritation. We feel them with different intensities, depending on our sensitivity and the food we eat; Specifically, the compounds that produce those sensations and the amounts in which they are found.
For example, Piperine from black pepper does not produce the same sensation as allicin from garlic or allyl isothiocyanate from mustard., although we define them all as “spicy”. In some cases, the intensity and type of sharpness seems very tolerable, while in others, very little or none at all.
That is why we have no doubts about giving our children toast with olive oil of the picual variety, given that its spiciness is very mild, while we are more worried if they eat other more spicy foods, such as That’s some sweets which are the stars in this article.
They are used as ingredients in spicy sweets. Extracts and essences from chilli and hot pepperswhich naturally contain capsaicinoids, one of the major Capsaicin.
We can say that this substance is the “queen of pungency”. It is naturally present in well-known foods in our environment, such as Padrón peppers (in some yes; in others, no), enorados, chilies or hot paprika. However in recent decades it has become popular mainly through foods from other latitudes, such as Mexican cuisine, or rather, Tex-Mex, with its countless specialties. Chili and hot sauce.
The concept of spicy sweets mainly comes from the same region of the world, the consumption of which has been common among children in that country for generations. There it is not as attractive as in our environment, given that spicy foods are very present in the diet.
Effects of spicy food on health
The main warning usually given about spicy food is that Irritant to the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract: Regular or excessive consumption may cause adverse effects such as abdominal pain or hemorrhoids, and may worsen symptoms of gastritis or esophageal reflux.
We can talk about health impacts from a more global perspective Take a look at several studies published in recent yearsParticular attention has been focused on the consumption of capsaicinoids or foods made from capsaicin.
One of the most recent and most complete publications, in which many previous studies were reviewed and analyzed, shows that the consumption of spicy food can improve cardiovascular health and reduce mortality, but on the other hand, This can give rise to a variety of incidents. Cancer, such as cancer of the esophagus or stomach.
In any case, it must be taken into account that we are talking about studies conducted on adult populations in other countries with different dietary habits and lifestyles, and above all, that The results are not conclusive and in some cases even contradictory. In fact, the main conclusion is that there is no conclusion.
What do we do then?
One of the conclusions drawn by the commented publication sheds light on It is necessary to consider the context of consumption. Of course, eating lentil stew with chilli once every fifteen days is not the same as filling yourself up. Breakfast Super Spicy Corn.
i.e. it is worth considering Aspects such as the intensity of the spiciness of the food, the frequency of consumption, the food we are talking about (whether it is healthy or not), as well as the characteristics of the person eating it: Health condition, tolerance towards spicy food, age, etc.
In fact, the age of consumption is one of the issues of concern, as we mentioned at the beginning. Is it appropriate for minors to eat spicy food? If so, at what age can they start? It is worth taking into account some aspects:
🌶️ Type of food
As we just mentioned, consuming spicy food through a healthy diet is not the same as doing so through another that is not recommended. In what sense, lYou Breakfast These should be made for occasional eating, whether spicy or not.
And this is due not only to its composition (a lot of salt, refined flour, absence of nutrients of interest, etc.), but also to educational aspects: if children get used to eating these products, then other Consumption of products also increases. Healthy. For example, if they eat a bag Breakfast After eating corn in the middle of the afternoon, they probably no longer have the appetite for apples.
🌶️ Effect of spicy food on food choice
It is likely that the mid-afternoon apple will be rejected not only because of the lack of appetite caused by its consumption. Breakfast of pickled corn, but also to get used to that sensation: if children (and adults) they get used to those intense sensations The feeling in the mouth when eating spicy foods makes it likely that other healthy foods like apples will be bland and unpalatable.
🌶️ The way the spice is consumed
few of them Breakfast Show on their packaging and in their advertising a Scale to indicate intensity of pungencySo that consumers are encouraged to start with the mildest product and progress over time until they can accept the most intense product.
This is one of the uses of spicy food in recent years, where challenges abound Which encourages displays of spiciness of the highest intensity possible and which is broadcast on the Internet.
In this form of consumption, we lose sight of food as a mere means to obtain a trophy. It’s a bit like what happens with challenges to eat the most number of hot dogs or the largest hamburger: your health is under attack. Moreover, it promotes the habit of consuming too much spiciness, which can divert us from a healthy diet, and consuming spiciness can lead to adverse effects like vomiting or difficulty in breathing.
🌶️Each person’s sensitivity to spicy
usually, Young children are more sensitive to spicy foods compared to adults. If we want to give them spicy food, it is advisable to do so with discretionStart with foods of low spiciness intensity and, of course, prefer that they be healthy and appropriate for their age.
refering to age There is no clear consensus on when to start introducing them. Some pediatricians recommend not doing this until at least three years of age, while others believe that it would be appropriate to do so after one year.
👉In conclusion we can say this BreakfastSpicy or not, they are not suitable for children, at least for regular consumption. And Excessively spicy food can lead them away from a healthy diet. One of the fundamental aspects of nutrition during the first stages of life is education: this is the time when we learn to appreciate tastes, textures, etc. And what habits are acquired last a lifetime in many cases.