6 Amazing Reasons to Never Eat an M&M Ever Again

If we said “They melt in your mouth, not in your hand"; chances are most people would know what candy we’re referring to. The chocolate covered morsels are a tempting treat for sure, found on grocery stores, check-outs and movie theaters everywhere.

They may be delicious, but are they worth the risk of eating them? These indulgent chocolate treats aren’t worth the negative impact they may have on your health. Scores of people have chosen to sign a petition that urges the manufacturer of M&M’s to use a portion of their almost $30 million earnings to improve the safety of their product.

Click here to read the summary



Photo credit: Pinterest


What are M&M’s?


M&M’s are a staple product in the candy industry. They were one of the first of their kind, and their unique design prevents the chocolate from melting during long trips; making them popular for use in trail mix. In fact, they were originally made for soldiers during the 1940’s; so that they could enjoy a sweet treat without having it lose its shape throughout the day.

Although the story of M&M’s is fascinating; this should not distract from the fact that they are still using cancer-causing chemicals in their food, even to this day. It comes as a surprise, considering many of the most popular food manufacturers are replacing the toxic ingredients they previously used with safer; more natural ones.


Are M&M’s Healthy?


No one expects any candy or chocolate bar to have very high ratings on the health scale, but there’s more to the story when it comes to this specific brand. In fact, M&M’s have had a long history of using questionable ingredients in their chocolate.

Photo credit: pixabay



Every package of M&M contain: Milk Chocolate (Sugar, Chocolate, Skim Milk, Cocoa Butter, Lactose, Milkfat, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Artificial Flavor), Sugar, Cornstarch, Less Than 1% –Corn Syrup, Dextrin,Coloring (Includes Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1, Blue 2 Lake, Yellow 6), Gum Acacia.


Reasons to Never Eat an M&M Ever Again


It is not simply one ingredient in M&M’s that has the potential for negative consequences. There are actually numerous ingredients that are considered questionable in terms of health. Here there is a list of 6 reasons to never eat an M&M ever again:


1- The health factor


Okay, you probably didn’t expect chocolate candy to be healthy. While organic chocolate or raw cacao are actually a healthy treat for you, the factor in the candy coating and any of the fillings are very bad. When you consider peanut butter, pretzels, peanuts, almond, mint and dark chocolate, you have a tiny treat loaded with sugar and calories.

The 2013-2014 Journal of Clinical Investigation released the results of an in vitro study that analyzed the results of increased sugar uptake and oncogenesis (cancer creation). The results demonstrated that increased glucose uptake had a direct and positive correlation to the early phases of cancer cell production.

Moreover, a prospective study published in 2006 found that high consumption of sugar and high-sugar foods were linked to a greater risk of pancreatic cancer, and a different study showed similar results for breast cancer patients.  Also, a 2012 study from the National Cancer Institute, researchers followed 435,674 men and women for more than seven years and found that people who consumed more added sugar had higher rates of esophageal adenocarcinoma, small intestine cancer, and cancer in the lining of the lungs.



Soy lecithin is one of the most ubiquitous additives in our food supply. It’s used primarily as an emulsifier, and you can find it in everything from salad dressing to tea bags. Paleo dieters avoid the brunt of it by eliminating most processed foods, but it almost always pops up in chocolate (like M&M) and often appears in supplements.

Photo credit: pexels



In 2007, the GMO Compass reported that soy lecithin, like many food products in American supermarkets, contained genetically modified soy. Genetically modified, or GM, foods are biotechnically changed to increase yields and resistance to herbicides and insects. Some health-food advocates and scientists have concerns with the potential long-term impact from eating genetically modified food. For example, a study published in the "Journal of Applied Toxicology" discovered that mice fed GMO soybean developed a decrease in pancreatic function. Although the nutrition of the soy was not altered, the study showed that as few as five days of feeding GM food caused pancreatic cellular changes, which were reversed after 30 days of non-GM foods.



Back in 1976, Red Dye #2 was banned from the use of food after being discovered to be carcinogenic. This was the key food color used to in M&M’s colorful snacks. But, when the dye was reintroduced (at the form of Red Dye #40) into food products in 1983, M&M jumped right back into its use, much to the dismay of their consumers.


Red #40 is a certified color that comes from petroleum distillates or coal tars. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates that it has to be listed by name on food and product labels. Additives that don’t need to be specified on labels are called “exempt.” These colorings are made from plant, animal, or mineral sources.

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According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Red 40 and other AFCs can cause allergic reactions in some people. Research shows they can also cause hyperactivity in children and immune system tumors in mice. Red 40 contains p-Cresidine, which the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says is “reasonably anticipated” to be a human carcinogen.

One study found that Red 40 lowers reproductive success in rats. It also reduced parental and offspring weight, decreased brain weight, and lowered chances for survival in newborn rats. The authors said the colorant showed evidence of physical and behavioral toxicity in developing rats that consumed Red 40 as 10 percent of their diet. The Environmental Working Group lists the overall hazard level for Red 40 as low. Other entities claim it is highly toxic, most importantly because people are unaware of how much they are exposed to it.

 


Blue No. 1 or Brilliant Blue, is a water-soluble coloring used in many baked goods, beverages, dessert powders, candies, cereals, drugs, and other products. Blue 1 received FDA approval for general use in foods and ingested drugs in 1969. In 1982, the FDA permanently approved the color for use in externally applied drugs and general use in cosmetics excluding the area of the eye.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest published “Food Dyes: a Rainbow of Risks”. According to this paper, in 2009, Rowland performed a chronic toxicity/carcinogenicity study on Blue 1 in 48 males/group and 50 females/group of ASH/CS1 mice. The mice were administered 0, 0.015, 0.15, or 1.5% Blue 1 in their diets for only 80 weeks. Seven out of the surviving 30 male mice in the 0.15% group had kidney tumors compared to only 1 kidney tumor in the 44 surviving controls. The increase in kidney tumor rates was statistically significant (p<0.05). However, no dose-response relationship was said to be found, diminishing, but not eliminating, concern about carcinogenicity (data on the 1.5% group were not provided).

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This study, which was conducted by the British Industrial Biological Research Association, a now-defunct industry-sponsored organization, was reviewed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and published in abstract form in an IARC monograph, but for unknown reasons the full study was never published.

In September 2007, a study reported by D. McCann and colleagues in the journal "The Lancet" linked artificial colorings, including Blue No. 2, to hyperactivity. Nearly 300 children in the study were given a beverage with artificial colors and a preservative. Drinking the beverage resulted in increased hyperactivity in the children, which the researchers attributed to the artificial coloring or the preservative or both. As a result, one candy company, Nestlé-Rowntree, stopped selling one of its candies with a blue shell until it replaced the artificial color with a new blue color made from spirulina, a blue-green algae.



Yellow dye #6 is a sulfonated version of Sudan I, a possible carcinogen which is frequently present in it as an impurity. Sunset Yellow itself may be responsible for causing an allergic reaction, resulting in various symptoms, including gastric upset, diarrhea, vomiting, nettle rash (urticaria), swelling of the skin (angioedema) and migraines. The coloring has also been linked to hyperactivity in young children.

Photo credit: Pinterest



A study conducted by the Department of Biology of Atlanta University found that Tartrazine (Yellow #5) induce chromosomal aberrations in mammalian cells. In the study Sister chromatid exchanges (SCEs) and chromosomal aberrations induced by curcumin (a natural dye) and tartrazine (a synthetic dye) were studied on bone marrow cells of mice and rats following acute and chronic exposure via the diet. Except for two low concentrations in the curcumin and one low concentration in the tartrazine treated series a significant increase in SCEs was observed in all the concentrations of the two dyes tested. Except for two high concentrations during the 9 months treatment no significant increase in chromosomal aberrations was observed in the curcumin treated series, whereas tartrazine showed a significant increase in chromosomal aberrations in some of the higher concentrations in all the series tested. The results indicate that tartrazine is more clastogenic than curcumin.

 


According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, most high fructose corn syrups contain either 42 percent or 55 percent fructose. The rest of the HFCS is glucose and water. HFCS 42 is typically what’s used in cereals, processed foods, baked goods and some beverages. HFCS 55 is used mainly in soft drinks. However, some HFCS contains up to 90 percent fructose.

Photo credit: free images



A research from 2010 published by the American Association for Cancer Research found that the fructose in HFCS promotes cancer growth, specifically pancreatic cancer. This study actually found that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose and induce rapid reproduction of pancreatic cancer cells. Researchers also found that fructose and glucose metabolism are very different, with fructose causing more negative health reactions than glucose.

On the other hand, multiple studies have found alarming amounts of mercury in products containing high fructose corn syrup, which can contribute to dangerous mercury poisoning. A study by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy found mercury in about a third of 55 popular brand name food and beverage products. These common products all had HFCS as the first or second highest labeled ingredients. Brands behind the products tested included Kraft, Quaker, Hershey’s and Smucker’s.


The Artificial dyes in M&M Today


In 2013,  a mother of two from Jamestown, New York, made  a petition in Change.org asking Mars, the maker of M&M's candies, to stop coloring its products with petroleum-based artificial food dyes. Sponsored by the Center for Science in the Public Interest and Renee Shutters, the petition underscores the connection between artificial dyes and hyperactivity in children.

Two years later, Mars Inc. announced plans to get rid of all artificial colors from all of its human food products. The change will affect over 50 Mars-owned brands including M&M's, Skittles, Wrigley's gum, Snickers, and Twix. However, this change will take at least 5 years!

“Replacing artificial colors across all our products is a complex task. We expect it will take about five years to develop the full range of alternatives that guarantee the integrity and great taste of the products you know and love; and to go through the process of obtaining regulatory approval for all new ingredients in development.”

Although the company decided to eliminate the artificial colorings of the M&M, it will take 5 years to eliminate them completely from all the stores in the world. So the risk and damage to health, are still there, in each of those M&M candy.

Would you like to know more about some of the best kept secrets of the Food Industry?

 

Summary


Key Takeaways



  • They may be delicious, but are they worth the risk of eating them? These indulgent chocolate treats are worth the negative impact they may have on your health.

  • Scores of people have chosen to sign a petition that urges the manufacturer of M&M’s to use a portion of their almost $30 million earnings to improve the safety of their product.


What are M&M’s?



  • M&M’s are a staple product in the candy industry. They were one of the first of their kind, and their unique design prevents the chocolate from melting during long trips, making them popular for use in trail mix.

  • In fact, they were originally made for soldiers during the 1940’s so that they could enjoy a sweet treat without having it lose its shape throughout the day.

  • Although the history of M&M’s is fascinating, this should not distract from the fact that they are still using cancer-causing chemicals in their food, even to this day.


Are M&M’s Healthy?



  • Of course, no one expects any candy or chocolate bar to have very high ratings on the health scale, but there’s more to the story when it comes to this specific brand. In fact, M&M’s have had a long history of using questionable ingredients in their chocolate.

  • Every package of M&M contain: Milk Chocolate (Sugar, Chocolate, Skim Milk, Cocoa Butter, Lactose, Milkfat, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Artificial Flavor), Sugar, Cornstarch, Less Than 1% –Corn Syrup, Dextrin,Coloring (Includes Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1, Blue 2 Lake, Yellow 6), Gum Acacia.


Reasons to Never Eat an M&M Ever Again


1- The health factor



  • The 2013-2014 Journal of Clinical Investigation released the results of an in vitro study that analyzed the results of increased sugar uptake and oncogenesis (cancer creation). The results demonstrated that increased glucose uptake had a direct and positive correlation to the early phases of cancer cell production. (see full study)

  • A prospective study published in 2006 found that high consumption of sugar and high-sugar foods were linked to a greater risk of pancreatic cancer; and a different study showed similar results for breast cancer patients. (study #1, study #2)

  • A 2012 study from the National Cancer Institute; researchers followed 435,674 men and women for more than seven years and found that people who consumed more added sugar had higher rates of esophageal adenocarcinoma, small intestine cancer, and cancer in the lining of the lungs. (see full study)


2- Soy Lecithin



  • In 2007, the GMO Compass reported that soy lecithin, like many food products in American supermarkets, contained genetically modified soy. Genetically modified, or GM, foods are biotechnically changed to increase yields and resistance to herbicides and insects. Some health-food advocates and scientists have concerns with the potential long-term impact from eating genetically modified food.

  • A study published in the "Journal of Applied Toxicology" discovered that mice fed GMO soybean developed a decrease in pancreatic function. Although the nutrition of the soy was not altered, the study showed that as few as five days of feeding GM food caused pancreatic cellular changes, which were reversed after 30 days of non-GM foods. (see full study)


3-  Red Dye #2/40



  • Back in 1976, Red Dye #2 was banned from the use of food after being discovered to be carcinogenic. This was the key food color used to in M&M’s colorful snacks. But, when the dye was reintroduced (at the form of Red Dye #40) into food products in 1983, M&M jumped right back into its use, much to the dismay of their consumers.

  • Red #40 is a certified color that comes from petroleum distillates or coal tars. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates that it has to be listed by name on food and product labels. Additives that don’t need to be specified on labels are called “exempt.” These colorings are made from plant, animal, or mineral sources.

  • According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Red 40 and other AFCs can cause allergic reactions in some people. Research shows they can also cause hyperactivity in children and immune system tumors in mice. (see full study)

  • One study found that Red 40 lowers reproductive success in rats. It also reduced parental and offspring weight, decreased brain weight, and lowered chances for survival in newborn rats. (see full study)


4- Blue Dye #1



  • The Center for Science in the Public Interest published “Food Dyes: a Rainbow of Risks”. According to this paper, in 2009, Rowland performed a chronic toxicity/carcinogenicity study on Blue 1 in 48 males/group and 50 females/group of ASH/CS1 mice. The mice were administered 0, 0.015, 0.15, or 1.5% Blue 1 in their diets for only 80 weeks. Seven out of the surviving 30 male mice in the 0.15% group had kidney tumors compared to only 1 kidney tumor in the 44 surviving controls.

  • This study, which was conducted by the British Industrial Biological Research Association; a now-defunct industry-sponsored organization; was reviewed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and published in abstract form in an IARC monograph, but for unknown reasons the full study was never published. (source)

  • In September 2007, a study reported by D. McCann and colleagues in the journal "The Lancet" linked artificial colorings, including Blue No. 2, to hyperactivity. Nearly 300 children in the study were given a beverage with artificial colors and a preservative. Drinking the beverage resulted in increased hyperactivity in the children, which the researchers attributed to the artificial coloring or the preservative or both. (see full study)


5- Yellow Dye #5/6



  • Yellow dye #6 is a sulfonated version of Sudan I, a possible carcinogen which is frequently present in it as an impurity. Sunset Yellow itself may be responsible for causing an allergic reaction, resulting in various symptoms; including gastric upset, diarrhea, vomiting, nettle rash (urticaria), swelling of the skin (angioedema) and migraines. The coloring has also been linked to hyperactivity in young children.

  • A study conducted by the Department of Biology of Atlanta University found; that Tartrazine (Yellow #5) induce chromosomal aberrations in mammalian cells. In the study Sister chromatid exchanges (SCEs) and chromosomal aberrations induced by curcumin (a natural dye) and tartrazine (a synthetic dye); were studied on bone marrow cells of mice and rats following acute and chronic exposure via the diet. Except for two high concentrations during the 9 months treatment no significant increase in chromosomal aberrations was observed in the curcumin treated series; whereas tartrazine showed a significant increase in chromosomal aberrations. (see full study)


6- High Fructose Corn Syrup



  • A research from 2010 published by the American Association for Cancer Research found; that the fructose in HFCS promotes cancer growth, specifically pancreatic cancer. This study actually found that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose and induce rapid reproduction of pancreatic cancer cells. Researchers also found that fructose and glucose metabolism are very different, with fructose causing more negative health reactions than glucose.  (see full study)

  • On the other hand, multiple studies have found alarming amounts of mercury in products containing high fructose corn syrup; which can contribute to dangerous mercury poisoning. A study by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy found; mercury in about a third of 55 popular brand name food and beverage products. These common products all had HFCS as the first or second highest labeled ingredients. Brands behind the products tested included Kraft, Quaker, Hershey’s and Smucker’s. (see full study)


The Artificial dyes in M&M Today



  • In 2013,  a mother of two from Jamestown, New York, made  a petition in Change.org asking Mars, the maker of M&M's candies, to stop coloring its products with petroleum-based artificial food dyes. Sponsored by the Center for Science in the Public Interest and Renee Shutters; the petition underscores the connection between artificial dyes and hyperactivity in children. (source)

  • Two years later, Mars Inc. announced plans to get rid of all artificial colors from all of its human food products. The change will affect over 50 Mars-owned brands including M&M's, Skittles, Wrigley's gum, Snickers, and Twix.

  • Although the company decided to eliminate the artificial colorings of the M&M, it will take 5 years to eliminate them completely from all the stores in the world. So the risk and damage to health, are still there, in each of those M&M candy.



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