Do you know what Flamin’ Hot Cheetos are made of?


Ryan King

Here at Ventura High School, vending machines are labeled with the words, “Healthy Choices.” Yet these vending machines are filled with products that could not be farther from a respectable healthy snack.  

I think it can be reasonably assumed that the funds received from vending machines are not keeping this school in business. They are not the source that is bringing in most of the school’s revenue. So what’s the point in mislabeling what’s actually inside them? They may be filled with the most popular snacks, but what’s inside of these snacks may encourage you to shy away from some of them, and hopefully putting you on the side — where it’s just me sitting alone because I’m probably the only one that cares about this — of these vending machine options are in fact, not, “Healthy Choices.”

In our vending machines, there are Funyuns. According to, Funyuns contain Monosodium Glutamate, an excitotoxin, that is “generally considered safe,” but “has a long reputation of causing harm to the human body” by over-stimulating neurotransmitters to a harmful extent.

Two students sharing a bag of “Hot Cheetos Fantastix!,” a supposed, “healthy choice” offered by VHS vending machines.
Photo by: Ryan King

In our vending machines, there are Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. According to Spoon University, a food publication, Dr. Martha Rivera, a pediatrician in the Los Angeles area, reported that “she sees around five to six cases of kids with gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining) daily, after they’ve eaten spicy foods, or say, wolfed down a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.” According to BuzzFeed News, even Lil Xan can’t handle to chemical fierceness that Flamin’ Hot Cheetos packs, as he claimed eating too many sent him to the hospital after he had “puked a little blood.” explains that Flamin’ Hot Cheetos cause “a burning sensation in the gastrointestinal tract” and our bodies respond to the heat and pepper spice through receptors that ultimately signals to the brain to release endorphins. This whole process makes us feel good, thus encouraging us to want to eat more. 

There are plenty of other snacks inside of our vending machines that are relatively in the same unhealthy family. But I think a lot of us should know that Fudge filled Pop Tarts, Doritos Flamas, Trix Cereal Bars, and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Fantastix! are not the best options for making a healthy choice.

To resolve this and make me happy, the school could keep the labeling on the vending machines and replace the items inside with options where the majority of ingredients can be pronounced. The likelihood of the school going to that extent is probably rare… 1) being because I can admit there are more pressing issues and 2) healthier snacks tend to be more expensive and the likelihood of school funds going into that department are also not probable.

But the fact that there are only unhealthy snack choices in our vending machines makes complete sense. The 12th most obese nation speaks for itself: we demand junk food. So I understand that the most economically smart thing to do is for a high school to supply the junk to allow the kids consume their way to achieving the American Dream: Type II Diabetes.

Lastly, the easier option — although it does not solve the actual problem — would be to tear down “Healthy Choices” on our vending machines filled with junk food. It’s embarrassing to have such low standards on what we classify as a healthy choice.