Mars, Incorporated—the candy maker of M&Ms, Snickers, Skittles and Twix—is considering a measure that would make some of America's favorite treats less sugary. The company's candies have become integrated into many popular desserts, especially those offered by fast-food chains. McDonald's McFlurries and Dairy Queen's Blizzards are prime examples, as are Burger King's dessert pies.
According to an industry source who spoke with Reuters, Mars is concerned that many desserts featuring their candies exceed in a single serving the amount of sugar the U.S. government recommends for anyone to eat in a day. So Mars is considering not allowing their candies to be added to the desserts.
For example, a medium Snickers Blizzard contains a staggering 103 grams of sugar and 850 calories. When you remove the Snickers, those totals fall to 67 grams of sugar and 510 calories. A 12-ounce McFlurry with M&Ms contains 89 grams of sugar and 650 calories. Take the M&Ms out and the numbers fall to 52 grams and 370 calories, respectively.
The American Heart Association recommends that women consume less than 100 calories of added sugar per day—about 24 grams—and men less than 150 calories per day—about 36 grams. The average American overshoots those targets by a country mile, consuming about 88 grams (equivalent to 22 teaspoons) per day. Diets high in added sugar have been linked to obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay and even cancer.
Decades ago, Americans could satisfy their sweet tooth with small servings of simple sugary snacks: a morsel of chocolate, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a 12-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola. But over the years, the snacks we consume to satisfy our sweet tooth have changed. They've become monstrously big and extremely processed, often combining several sugar-stuffed items into one product. If Mars follows through on its idea, it would be a small step in the right direction.
When it was recently announced that the FDA was moving toward requiring producers to list added sugars on nutrition fact panels, Mars publicly supported the idea. "Mars supports the DGAC's recommendation that consumers reduce their added sugars intake to no more than 10% of daily energy intake. Further, Mars supports labeling and educational approaches, including added sugars labeling and off-label nutrition education, which aim to provide consumers with information that will help guide decisions about their sugar intake," the company said in a statement.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock