The treat might taste good, but its ingredient list is quite concerning.
With a crunchy shell and sweet, milk chocolate inside, M&Ms are a tempting treat few can refuse. Unfortunately, the sweet candies are far from healthy and are created with ingredients that are linked to a number of debilitating health conditions.
As Living Traditionally reports, ingredients used in the manufacturing of the candies are linked to everything from cancer, migraines, and hyperactivity to allergies and anxiety.
The chocolatey treat has an intriguing history. Created by Mars Inc., the candies were dreamt up in 1941 as a way to allow soldiers to carry chocolate without worry of it melting.
Over the years, its iconic logo and humorous advertising have made it a favorite in over 100 countries. With ingredients that have been found to adversely affect health, however, it’s time consumers get educated on what they’re actually consuming and opt for healthier cacao treats if a sweet fix is in order.
An Original M&Ms bag lists the following ingredients:
Milk chocolate (sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, skim milk, milk fat, lactose, soy lecithin, salt, artificial color), sugar, cornstarch, >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.
Following are questionable ingredients and linked health concerns:
Soy lecithin: 93% of soy is genetically modified. Soy lecithin can cause breast cancer, has negative effects on fertility and reproduction, may lead to behavioral and cerebral abnormalities.
“Lake” within these artificial colors means salt was added to the color. This makes the color insoluble in liquids.
Blue #1: Produces malignant tumors at the site of injection and by ingestion in rats. Possible effects include asthma, hives, hay fever, low blood pressure, allergic reactions. Caution is advised if aspirin sensitive.
Red #40: Damages DNA, causes swelling around the mouth, hives, hyperactivity in children and cancer.
Yellow #6: Can cause cancer, hyperactivity, allergic reactions, diarrhea, vomiting, nettle rash, migraines and swelling of the skin.
Yellow #5: Can cause allergic reactions, hyperactivity, cancer.
Blue #2: Is a petroleum based product with a chemical formula of C16H10N2O2. It increases hyperactivity in children, increases brain tumors in lab rats and other abnormal cell development.
Gum Acacia: Is a dietary fiber from the Acacia tree. It causes gas, bloating, nausea and loose stool.
Although the FDA deems the ingredients above to be “safe for human consumption,” the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has described artificial colors as “neurotoxic chemicals.” On a change.org petition, CSPI pushed for warning labels to list the alleged risks of eight approved FD&C food colors. Dr. Jacobson of the organization 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.”
M&Ms are not the only concerning sugary treat available to the public. For this reason, it is every consumer’s responsibility to become educated on the pros and cons of various foods so they might make healthier dietary and lifestyle choices.
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