The popularity of the two snacks has skyrocketed in the wake of a viral video created by a group of Minneapolis kids.


hen searching for the answer to the question, "What's wrong with kids today?" people come up with many scapegoats: TV, video games, overprotective parents, and of course, too much junk food. Junk food is surely a problem—childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions—but trying to get kids to stop eating them is no easy feat. Especially when they're so good that kids rap about them on YouTube.

Such is the case with Takis. Takis are rolled corn tortilla snack chips. They're basically the same as Flamin' Hot Cheetos, the popular spicy American snack food that's been at the center of much controversy lately.

takis Takis (left) and Flamin' Hot Cheetos (right).

Flamin' Hot Cheetos have been banned from many school districts, over fears that the snack is especially addictive and unusually lacking in nutrition. Of course, Cheetos aren't necessarily any worse than any other processed snack foods, which are all lacking in nutrition and high in fat and sodium, but it's the spiciness of the Flamin' Hot variety—and of their Mexican counterpart, Takis Fuegos—that is the problem. 

Takis are produced by a Mexican company called Barce, which was purchased by PepsiCo in 1998. They started appearing on stores shelves througout the U.S. around 2000. The popularity of the Takis—and Flamin' Hot Cheetos—skyrocketed in the wake of a viral video (see below) created by Y.N.RichKids, a group of Minneapolis kids who are part of a YMCA after-school program called Beats and Rhymes. The video extolls the virtues of the spicy snacks ("Hot Cheetos and Takis/Hot Cheetos and Takis/I can't get enough of them Hot Cheetos and Takis").

While it may sound like a typical do-gooder overreaction, the notion that Flamin' Hot Cheetos and Takis are actually addictive is not that far-fetched. Spicy food causes the same reaction in our bodies that pain does, causing endorphins to be released that create feelings of euphoria, which makes us want to eat more.

Snack foods also contain large amounts of sodium, which also contributes to their addictive properties. So the combination of spicy and salty is a hard one to beat when it comes to snacks.

As far as which is better, taste-wise, our informal survey of coworkers found a decided preference for the Flamin' Hot Cheetos. They're spicier, and the Takis have too much lime flavor.