Challenges Behind the Challenges
Emma St. Aubin - Commentary
estau255@uwsp.edu

 

  
​Videos of college and high school students trying "The Cinnamon Challenge" been growing
in popularity on sites like YouTube.  Video uploaded by Youtube user .

Stop videotaping yourself attempting to eat spoonfuls of cinnamon.
 
For those unaware of the Cinnamon Challenge, I will break for a quick lesson. The Cinnamon Challenge is when you attempt to eat an entire tablespoon of cinnamon in one minute without inhaling or vomiting the powder, resulting in over 30,000 of these videos on YouTube.
 
This trend goes back to 2006 - that’s as good as dinosaur times for the fast-paced world of the Internet.
 
The Cinnamon Challenge is a double-dog dare gone viral. Although kids have been daring each other to do stupid stuff long before the dinosaur times of the Internet, this craze has health professionals going crazy. Why? Because swallowing the spice is basically impossible since there isn’t enough saliva in the human mouth to absorb it without serious health risks.
 
The cinnamon can cause burning and damage to the eyes if it’s gagged right away. It can also enter your airways and cause inflammation to the lungs. In extreme cases, it can even cause your lungs to collapse.
 
Other challenges more near and dear to our hearts, like the Polito’s Challenge, are less severe but can be just as bad for our bodies.
For those unaware of the Polito’s Challenge, I will break for another quick lesson. Two contestants are allowed on a team to complete the Polito’s "Monster Pizza" Challenge, in which they have one hour to eat a 28-inch, 12-pound pizza, and receive a cash reward of $500 if completed.
 
Unless the contenders train and have a regular diet of 12-pound pizzas, the calorie-packed challenge doesn’t carry the load of health risks as the Cinnamon Challenge, but is still nutritionally harsh on your body.
 
After doing the math, a 28-inch cheese pizza is approximately 5,120 calories; add additional toppings at your own risk. As a Cheesehead, it might burn your eyes to read this, but cheese is pizza’s biggest havoc. A single serving of a plain cheese pizza includes half a day’s worth of saturated fat, and that’s just one slice.
 
Granted, the challenge is a one-day event. Yet, there are several long-term effects of repeatedly eating the massive amounts of sodium and saturated and trans fats, including an increased risk of developing conditions such as hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, hardening of the arteries and heart problems.
 
So, can these challenges kill you? This question may sound ridiculous when so many teens are participating in much more dangerous and life-threatening games like the choking game and car surfing, but that doesn’t make any single challenge "healthier" than the next.
Although no deaths have yet been reported, the challenges still remain dangerous and may even end up with a vacation to the doctor’s office or hospital.