Think again before you have M&Ms

Aabha Gopan

Mars and Murrie (M&M’s) is a multi-colored chocolate with a candy shell exterior holding together different fillings. A packet of M&M’s usually has candies of colors red, blue, yellow, green, orange, and brown.

It stands out from the other chocolates with its unique appearance and amusing candy characters, making it popular among kids and adults alike. In fact, in 2017, M&M’s was the leading chocolate candy brand in the USA, with about $688.7 million worth of sales. In fact, you could have contributed to a few sales yourself.

There are several reasons why you would want to have M&M’s - from its miniature, cute button candies to its yummy filling.

But have you ever wondered what’s inside those adorable little candies? Or how it affects our bodies?

To find the answer to that, let's look at its nutrient composition.

Nutrient Composition of M&M's

From the above chart, you can see that every 100 grams of M&M’s gives 480 kcal. As a packet of M&M’s is around 48 grams, you will have to eat more than two such M&M’s packets to tally with the above measures. So, M&M’s are less likely to contribute to fat deposition unless you have too many.

Also, the amount of fat in the chocolate is low. Further emphasizing that M&M’s won’t make anyone obese.

But the amount of sugars in the chocolate is high. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum amount of added sugars you can have in a day is 37.5 grams (for men) and 25 grams (for women). And the sugar content in 100 grams of M&M’s is 66 grams.

So, the sugar content in one packet of M&M's (48 grams) will be 32 grams. This means that a woman or child can exceed their sugar limit if they have one M&M’s packet. And a man will almost exhaust his daily quota.

Now, let’s dive deeper into the ingredients of M&M’s and understand how it affects our bodies.

Ingredients of M&M's

In this section, we will discuss the ADI (Acceptable Daily Intake) and harmful side effects of a few of M&M’s ingredients:

Gum Arabic

This is the gum secreted by certain trees, such as the Acacia Senegal tree. It’s said to help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), high cholesterol, and diabetes. However, these benefits aren't proven.

Experts recommend taking not more than 30 grams daily for 18 days. Its overconsumption can cause gas, bloating, constipation, cramps, and constipation.

E133

This artificial compound is made from the organic synthesis of coal tar and gives a brilliant blue color. Around 95% of E133 can’t be absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract and is useless to the body. It causes asphyxiation and allergic reaction in some people.

In addition to that, its long-term consumption can cause kidney, heart, liver, lungs, and stomach-related diseases. This coloring agent is banned in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

E150

E150 are compounds that give food caramel color. M&M's contain E150a, E150c, and E150d

E150a is a Class I of caramel color, made from the controlled heating of carbohydrates. This compound doesn’t have ammonium or sulfite reactants, but EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) has recommended an ADI of 300 mg/kg body weight/day.

Whereas E150c and E150d have ammonia and sulfite, respectively. The ADI of E150c is 100 mg/kg body weight/day, and that of E150d is 300 mg/kg body weight/day.

E160

E160 gives foods different hues of orange. M&M's have two types of E160 - E160a and E160e.

E160a and E160e are carotenoids that are extracted from vegetables. E160a, an orangish-yellow food color, is obtained mainly from carrots. The maximum daily intake limits of these compounds are 5 mg/kg body weight/day.

At the same time, E160e is a reddish-orange coloring that’s extracted from oranges and tangerines. Though the FDA has recommended its intake limit, not much information was available on the internet.

What I Think

Based on the above, I feel that we should be mindful of the quantity of M&M’s we eat. Having more than a certain number of packets can increase the amount of these food additives in the body, maybe even beyond the maximum limit.

Another concern, probably the most crucial, is its high sugar content. As said before, you can easily exceed the daily sugar limit by having one packet of M&M's. This can cause higher blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease.

Disclaimer: This article is based on other reliable articles and studies. It's only the writer's observation and opinion. It's solely written for the reader's well-being.

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