Although M&M’s may “melt in your mouth, but not in your hand”, it might be time to consider if 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.
Are M&Ms Bad for You?
Although it is obvious that no one views chocolate or candy as being healthy, these particular treats have even more health risks worth knowing about. M&M’s actually have a long history of producing their products using unhealthy ingredients.
Red Dye #2 was banned in 1976 after it was discovered that it was considered a carcinogen (a substance that can potentially lead to the formation of cancer). This dye was one of the main food colorants in M&M’s. As soon as Red Dye #2 was considered safe again in 1983, M&M’s immediately began using it again, much to the disappointment of consumers.
Unfortunately, requests to produce the candies using one of the many safer alternatives available were ignored. They have also ignored a recommendation by the CSPI to place warning labels on any of their food items that contain these risky artificial food dyes such as Red Dye #2.
M&M Ingredients That May Pose a Health Risk
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.
1.) Soy Lecithin
Soy lecithin is a chemical that is commonly used to increase the amount of time that food items will last on the shelf. As the name suggests, it is produced from soybeans, which are 93% genetically modified. GMO foods have never been proven to be safe for long-term consumption. Companies, such as Monsanto, use GMO in their crop production to help their crops handle massive doses of pesticides without dying. This means that some of these dangerous chemicals end up in certain foods, such as M&M’s.
Along with GMO’s and toxic pesticide residue, soy has also been associated with a raised risk of breast cancer, fertility issues, reproductive problems, and mental and behavioral health issues. A healthier alternative is snacking on organic, fresh ingredients as much as possible.
2.) Artificial Food Dyes
Along with Red Dye #2, M&M’s also contain a variety of other risky artificial food dyes:
- Blue Dye #1: This dye has been associated with the growth of malignant tumors in studies of rats along with hives, asthma, low blood pressure issues, and allergic reactions
- Blue Dye #2: Linked to hyperactivity in kids, tumor growth, and abnormal cell growth
- Red Dye #40: It is associated with DNA damage, cancer, mouth swelling, hives, and hyperactivity in kids
- Yellow Dye #5: Linked to food allergies, cancer, and behavioral issues
- Yellow Dye #6: This dye is associated with migraines, diarrhea, vomiting, allergic reactions, hyperactivity, and cancer
According to Dr. Mercola, food dyes have been linked to cancer, behavioral effects, allergy-like reactions and may ma even be the cause of hyperactivity in some children.
For more information on the dangers of artificial colors, check out this video.
Truth About Artificial Food Dyes – Poison in Your Foods
3.) Ingredients That Cause Inflammation
Even if all of the artificial colors in M&M’s were replaced with natural alternatives, the main ingredients would still pose a threat to your health. You need refined sugar and milk—ingredients that promote inflammation—to make milk chocolate. Although not everyone reacts severely to dairy products, they can still cause gas and bloating and have a negative impact on your digestive health in the long-run. These ingredients can also lead to issues with depression, cancer, and leaky gut.
Healthier M&M Alternatives
As an alternative, I highly recommend eating dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content that is minimally processed. This type of dark chocolate can be found in your local grocery tore and is loaded with antioxidants and flavanols that help reduce any inflammation in your body and puts you in a wonderful your mood without any loss of deliciousness!
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