Where Do Flamin' Hot Cheetos Land On The Scoville Scale?

Chips come in a vast range of flavors including pizza, BBQ, and dill, to mention a few. But none of these flavors have the level of hype that extreme spicy chips boast. With names including descriptors such as fire, flamin', xxtra, and hot, it is clear that the search for an increasingly spicier chip is extremely popular. Among such a wide variety of spicy chips, there are sure to be a few that attract extra attention.

Flamin' Hot Cheetos have certainly spent some time in the spotlight, according to Delish, which reviewed a number of health scares involving gastric issues related to their consumption, such as pain, flamin' red vomiting, and even gallbladder failure. Le Bonheur Children's Hospital has also noted troublingly high numbers of young patients experiencing similar symptoms. Are they really that spicy or is something else to blame? Dr. Martha Rivera told ABC News in 2013 that the high acidity of the chips was likely partly responsible for an increase in gastritis. Health issues aside, die-hard heat fans would probably love to get to some measurable facts such as where these Cheetos rate on the Scoville Scale.

What's causing the heat?

Given that these spicy Cheetos have a top-secret formula, and the company does not divulge the ingredients of the natural flavors used, it is unclear what intensity and type of chili are present. Crave cites unnamed experts who suggest the chips rate around 50,000 Scoville units, but we have found no evidence to back this up. This would be comparable to cayenne pepper, according to Chilli World. That would place the chips at the lower end of the scale relative to the Carolina Reaper pepper, which clocks in at between 1.5 million and over 2 million units.

You can find Reddit threads and amateur spice devotees (via Celebrity Blog Gossip) searching for a definitive answer. Unfortunately, the guesses can vary quite a bit and don't provide a definitive answer, which brings us to the important point that a measure of spice is completely subjective (via Que Pasa). Just Enough Heat explains how Scoville units simply represent the point of dilution at which spice is no longer perceptible by a taster. We've all experienced different sensations eating foods identified as spicy, as can be demonstrated by the chili eating champions from League of Fire who seem to handle it with ease.

So maybe the question isn't "where do Flamin” Hot Cheetos land on the Scoville scale?" Maybe it's better to question whether the search for an answer is warranted, given the various health concerns caused by their over-consumption.