A trend for spicier crisps and snacks is landing many children in hospital with severe stomach problems.
Doctors have warned that the hot flavourings can damage the stomach lining, causing it to become inflamed and painfully acidic.
Dr Martha Rivera, of the White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles, said: "I've seen a number of children who eat four or five bags and come in screaming in pain. We have a population who loves to eat the hot spicy, not real foods, and they come in with these real complaints."
One child, Andrew Medina, 12, told how he was in pain for weeks before finally going to a doctor.
Andrew, who was eating more than 20 bags of spicy snacks a month, described the pain as 'like a bruise'.
Medical professionals have long warned parents to not give their children unhealthy snacks, and some school districts have banned certain brands from the classroom.
But doctors are now warning that too much spicy junk food can alter the pH balance in the stomach, causing it to become acidic and painful.
Dr Robert Glatter said: "Parents should be aware of this. These products are not healthy and some children seem to become addicted."
Dr Rivera described the rise in cases as 'like a food addiction'.
"They seek out the burn, It's a little thrill-seeking. It's like 'How much can I tolerate?'," she said.
The doctor suggested parents should replace spicy snacks with healthier options such as fruit.
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