You versus a bowl of M&M’s.
If I had to place a bet on who would win that battle, I’d 99.99% go with the M&M’s.
You’ve been there. I’m also guilty.
Especially with the holiday season in full swing, it is nearly impossible to resist this coveted candy dish.
However, you may want to think twice before reaching for those easy “melt-in-your-mouth-not-in-your-hand” chocolates.
Here is why…
First, a brief history of the glorious M&M:
- Created in 1941.
- Now sold in over 100 countries with 33 different fillings.
- Created to allow soldiers to carry chocolate without it melting.
- The two “M’s” are for Forrest E. Mars, Sr. and William F.R. Murrie, the son of Hershey chocolate’s president.
- This partnership allowed Mars to use Hershey in their products.
- Hershey had control of chocolate at the time.
In 1976, Red candies were banned due to people’s concern about the questionable dyes. FD&C Red #2 was suspected to be a carcinogen. Red candies were then reintroduced in 1983. However, Mars is still urged by consumers to remove these dangerous artificial colors.
These artifical colors have been referred to as “neurotoxic chemicals” by a Change.org petition as well as a press release from Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
Kraft Macaroni and Cheese experienced a similar petition urging them to remove dangerous Yellow #5 and Yellow #6, which was supported by 350,000 signatures!
The CSPI has recommended that warning labels listing the risks of the eight approved FD&C food colors should be a requirement for all products containing these dangerous ingredients. The CSPI’s Dr. Jacobson said:
“The evidence that these petrochemicals worsen some children’s behavior is convincing.
I hope that the committee will advise the agency to both require warning notices and encourage companies voluntarily to switch to safer natural colorings.”
WHAT Are M&M’s Made Of?
Let’s look at the current ingredients listed on a bag of Original M&M’s:
Milk chocolate (sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, skim milk, milkfat, lactose, soy lecithin, salt, artificial color), sugar, corn starch, >1% corn syrup, dextrin, artificial colors (Blue 1 Lake, Red 40 Lake, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 1, Blue 2 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 2), gum acacia.
HOW Harmful Are These Ingredients?
- 93% of soy is genetically modified
- Can cause breast cancer
- Has negative effects on fertility and reproduction
- May lead to behavioral and cerebral abnormalities
- Produces malignant tumors at the site of injection and by ingestion in rats
- Possible effects include: hay fever, low blood pressure, hives, asthma, allergic reaction
- Caution is advised if aspirin sensitive
- Damages DNA
- Causes swelling around the mouth
- Hyperactivity in children
- Can cause cancer
- Allergic reactions
- Nettle rash
- Swelling of the skin
- Can cause allergic reactions
- Petroleum based product
- Increases hyperactivity in children
- Increases brain tumors in lab rats
- Increases other abnormal cell development
- Dietary fiber from the Acacia tree
- Causes gas, nausea, loose stool and bloating
With a 2007 Forbes reported income of $27.4 million dollars, it is time for the Mars company to use that money to make positives changes to their products that will make them safer to eat! Until that day comes… it’s best you give up these dangerous and questionable little chocolates.
Since M&M’s are NOT an option any longer… here is what you can eat instead when you need a chocolate-y fix:
- Dark Chocolate: Try the following “clean” chocolate bars:
- Equal Exchange: 100% organic and fair trade
- Sweetriot: Fair trade and non-GMO ingredients
- Good Cacao: Supplement-enhanced chocolate bars