Doctors in the UAE are advising residents against using unusual components in their cooking without adequate knowledge.
This comes after a dangerous food challenge video recently went viral on the internet encouraging users to cook raw chicken in a pool of NyQuil, which is apparently a sleep-inducing cold medicine.
Soon after the heavy circulation of that video, several people tried out the new recipe known as ‘sleepy chicken’, following which the US Food and Drug Administration urged people to not follow the trend.
Dr Amani Elghafri, Consultant Internal Medicine, Valiant Clinic & Hospital says, “Recently, social media has come up with many “trends” that could take a massive toll on your health. Cooking chicken in cough medicine is a new and unnatural challenge that has been spread worldwide. Not only is the video that started this trend growing in popularity, but it’s being tested by people who have viewed it.”
He adds, “Cough medicine and other over-the-counter medications become more concentrated and even altered when exposed to high temperatures. Once heated, the cough medicine starts to release dangerous vapours that can seriously harm your lungs. This is not only damaging when done using cough syrup, but other medicines as well.”
Elghafri reiterates that enlightening children and the youth about mindlessly following online trends is imperative. “Chicken can be cooked using many different ingredients that will not negatively affect your health, so please do not use unusual components in your cooking without knowledge. Make sure to always remain aware of what effects ‘trends’ can have and educate your children about the rights and wrongs of following what others do online.”
Poisonous for human consumption
Medical experts reiterate that exposing a medicine to high temperatures may even turn it poisonous for human consumption. They emphasise that when you change the structure of any medication by cooking it, the process ultimately alters the molecule resulting in a new substance.
Dr Fadi Baladi, Medical Director and Consultant Internal Medicine, Burjeel Day Surgery Centre, Reem Island says, “Medications are made up of specific molecules that must be maintained at a particular temperature. If we don’t store certain syrups, pills, etc, at specific temperatures, they can be ruined.
So, when you subject the medicine to very high temperatures in a cooking environment, you are altering the molecules. Using medication for cooking alters the molecules completely, and they change into unknown molecules that have not been tested for safety.”
Dr Yousra Heikal, General Practitioner, Prime Medical Center – Barsha Heights, says, “Burning food… all these types of challenges are not recommended at all because it’s not good for our health. They can be carcinogenic which obviously not good.”
Khaleej Times reached out to TikTok for a clarification, who conveyed in a statement that they condemn such perilous practices.
“Content that promotes dangerous behaviour has no place on TikTok”, admonishes a TikTok spokesperson.
“This is not trending on our platform, but we will remove the content if found and strongly discourage anyone from engaging in behaviour that may be harmful to themselves or others.”