Who doesn’t love M&M? It might be one of the sweetest guilty pleasure everyone love to take, especially during holiday season. Those “melt-in-your-mouth-not-in-your-hand” chocolates are just perfect to accompany you on your vacation.
Unfortunately, it seems like you have to stop taking another M&M because actually there are so many reasons to avoid those chocolates which outnumber the reason to consume them.
First, let us see a few fact about the popular M&M:
M&M was created in 1941.
It originally created to allow soldier to carry chocolate without it melting.
The two “M’s” derived from the name of the creator which are Forrest E. Mars and William F.R. Murrie, the son of Hershey chocolate’s president.
Since M&M is the partner of Hershey, it able to use Hershey in its product.
At that time, Hershey was controlling chocolate
Currently, M&M are available in more than a hundred countries in 33 different filling.
M&M hit the market successfully, but in 1976, red candies were banned because they contained questionable dyes and FD&C Red #2 was believe to be a carcinogen. However, in 1983 red candies were reintroduced.
Customer react by urging Mars to get rid of the artificial colors used in their candies. Those colors were regarded as “neurotoxic chemicals” by a petition from change.org and a Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) press release.
Based on CSPI recommendation, all products that contain harmful ingredients must provide warning labels which would list the risk of the 8 approved FD&C food colors.
Dr. Jacobson from CSPI stated there’s convincing evidence that petrochemical can worsen some children’s behavior. He also hope that the committee will advise the agency to require warning notice as well as encourage the companies to switch to safer natural colorings.
Below you can find the ingredients in the bag of original M&M.
Milk chocolate (chocolate, sugar, skim milk, cocoa butter, milkfat, lactose, salt, soy lecithin, artificial color), sugar, corn starch, >1% corn syrup, dextrin, artificial colors (Blue 1 Lake, Red 40 Lake, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 40, Blue 1, Blue 2, Blue 2 Lake , Yellow 5 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake) and gum acacia.
Now, let’s see the adverse effects caused by those ingredients:
Ingredient Negative effect
Soy lecithin Can cause breast cancer
Adversely impact fertility and reproduction
May led to behavioral and cerebral abnormalities
Blue #1 : Can lead to some disease including hay fever, low blood pressure, allergic reaction, hives, asthma
May cause malignant tumors at the site of injection and by ingestion in rats
Those who are sensitive to aspirin should take this substance with caution
Red #40 : May cause swelling around the mouth
Can damage the DNA
Cause hyperactivity in children
Yellow #6 : Vomiting
Swelling of the skin
May lead to cancer
Yellow #5 : Hyperactivity
Can cause allergic reactions
May lead to cancer
Blue #2 : This is a petroleum based product
Can increases brain tumors in lab rats
May trigger the development of other abnormal cell
Can cause hyperactivity in children
Gum Acacia This is a dietary fiber from the acacia tree
May leads to nausea, bloating, gas, loose stool
Though the use of artificial color may lead to some serious health problem, Mars Company has yet to quit using those artificial color. What’s strange is FDA declared that all those coloring are safe for human consumption while scientific research provided an opposite evidence. If you really need to use colors for food then you better choose a natural alternatives which are absolutely safe.
In 2007, Forbes stated that Mars Company has made $ 17.4 million dollars income. It seems like it’s about time for them to use some of their money to alter harmful substance into a safer one.
If you really like chocolate, there are some safer alternative to M&M including:
Sweetriot: This product does not contain GMO ingredients
Equal Exchange: Their product is completely organic
Good Cacao: This chocolate bar also contain supplements.
Meanwhile, you should avoid consuming any of their product, at least until they actually take a step to use a safer alternative in their product.
Equal Exchange: completely organic and fair trade
Sweetriot: Fair trade and contains no GMO ingredients
Good Cacao: These chocolate bars are enriched with supplements