Health experts have warned about a viral TikTok trend which involves eating super spicy pickles straight from the packet.
The hot pickle challenge sees people, including children, chew through the hand-sized vegetable bathed in spicy pickle juice, and post their reactions on the video-sharing app.
Radio host Amanda Holden and Hollywood actress Florence Pugh have jumped on the bandwagon, filming themselves devouring the snack, made by US-based Van Holten.
While some social media stars such as Megan Welsh claim to heave from the smell and cry from a single bite, others say the snack is delicious and the heat is tolerable.
However, nutritionists say regularly eating the snack, which can be bought online or in newsagents for around £1.99, can lead to serious stomach issues.
Amanda Holden said the pickle ‘smelt amazing’. The presenter, 52, said the liquid it comes in ‘tastes a bit like the sea but with chilli pepper in it’ and that the pickle itself was ‘gorgeous’ and that she ‘really liked it’
Florence Pugh, 27, said the snack ‘doesn’t look healthy’ and looked ‘weird’ but tasted ‘hot’ and ‘quite nice’
Nichola Ludlam-Raine, a specialist dietitian, said eating very spicy foods on a regular basis can be detrimental for the stomach and gut.
She said: ‘For some people it can cause reflux, and for those with stomach ulcers it could make symptoms worse.
‘I’m all for eating more plant foods for fibre, but this isn’t a trend I would be advising my patients try.’
Dr Duane Mellor, one of Britain’s top dietary researchers, told MailOnline: ‘One thing to definitely be aware of is the high salt content, as they can be around one per cent sodium.’
This means that each 1oz (28g) serving can contain nearly a quarter of your daily salt, he said.
What is in Van Holten’s Hot Pickle?
Total fat: 0g
Total Carbohydrates: 0g
Ingredients: Cucumber, water, vinegar, salt, calcium chloride, natural flavouring, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate, oleoresin capsicum and yellow 5
However, he added the fermented food may aide digestion.
Van Holten states that its Hot Pickle has zero calories, carbs and fat. However, it has 410mg of sodium — around 1g of salt.
Ingredients listed include cucumber, water, vinegar, salt, calcium chloride (a stabiliser), sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate (preservatives), as well as oleoresin capsicum (spice).
Another listed component, Yellow 5, is a synthetic dye.
According the US Food and Drug Administration, it is possible, but rare, for this colour additive to trigger an allergic reaction, such as itching and hives.
The trend has hit TikTok by storm as #hotpicklechallenge has attracted more than 95 million views.
Following its’ online success, shops across the UK have now started to stock the giant American pickles on their shelves as social media is filled with people desperate to order the viral import treat, which is sold on Amazon.
Amanda Holden said the pickle ‘smelt amazing’.
The presenter, 52, said the liquid it comes in ‘tastes a bit like the sea but with chilli pepper in it’ and that the pickle itself was ‘gorgeous’ and that she ‘really liked it’.
Florence Pugh, 27, said the snack ‘doesn’t look healthy’ and looked ‘weird’ but tasted ‘hot’ and ‘quite nice’.
In one TikTok, UK-based Lay (@itzlayy1) tried two versions of the snack – the ‘hot and spicy’ and ‘zesty garlic’ flavour.
UK-based Lay (@itzlayy1) tried two versions – the ‘hot and spicy’ and ‘zesty garlic’ flavour
‘Guys, I’ve followed with the trend,’ she told viewers. ‘I’m really excited.’
However, she appeared less than pleased with the result, looking pained after one bit.
‘Hot and spicy is a no from me,’ she said. The zesty garlic, however, earned a 5.5/ 10 from her.
TikToker Leah (@_llcw_), who appears to be based in Staffordshire, said in a video from earlier this month: ‘I don’t normally do these videos… but like, I wanted to see what the trend was all about.’
‘It’s not bad but it’s not good, d’you know what I mean… I don’t like the texture.’
Elsewhere last month Manchester-based Sandra (@sandra_neo) made her own reaction clip too.
‘It smells alright,’ she appraised. ‘Gigantic.’
After taking a bite, she admitted it’s ‘definitely got a kick to it’ but ‘won’t sucker punch you’.
These products create video-worthy reactions as the American treats go to the extreme in flavourings.
TikToker Leah ( @_llcw_ ), who appears to be based in Staffordshire, tried the pickle in a recent video
Van Holten’s giant pickle, the classic being hot, comes in an array of different flavours, including sour dill, ‘tangy’ and garlic.
Many are given trendy and fun names such as ‘Hot Mama’, ‘Big Papa’, and ‘Sour Sis’ to match a animated cartoon pickle character on the packaging.
Since going viral on the social media platform, the trend has boomed and people are now creating their own new and improved versions of the trend.
Many Americans are desperate to get their hands on a ‘chamoy pickle kit’ – a pack resulting in the giant pickle being wrapped in a fruit rollup (the American equivalent of a Fruit Winder) and topped with spicy Mexican snacks and seasonings.
Brits are now trying to recreate them by attempting to find UK equivalents.
Now, #picklekituk has a staggering 30.6 million views on TikTok, as countless creators film their reactions to the concoction that is equal parts spicy, sour and sweet.
Some brave influencers have even gone as far to use the super hot pickle juice as a mixer for whiskey.
Google Trends showed a huge increase in searches for ‘American pickle UK’ as far back as 2019.