Why You Should Think Twice Before Having M&M’s

Aabha Gopan
4 min readOct 2, 2021
Pic from Food and Wine

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?

Before we get into its health aspects, let’s introduce M&M’s briefly.

M&M’s — The Charming Chocolate Candy

Mars and Murrie (or M&M’s) is multi-colored button-shaped chocolate with a candy shell exterior holding together different fillings. A packet of M&M’s will have 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 with about USD 688.7 million worth of sales.

Let’s get into the topic by looking at M&M’s nutrient composition.

Nutrient Composition

Pic from MMS

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 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 — almost twice the limit. This means that you exceed this limit even if you eat only one packet.

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


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 are proved. Gum Arabic is usually safe for adults when had. Experts recommend taking not more than 30 grams daily for six weeks.

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.

E150a, E150c, E150d: E150a is the 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 E150d is 300 mg/kg body weight/day.

E160a and E160e: These 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.

From the above, we can conclude 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. The intake of more sugars can cause higher blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease.

So, it’s best to restrain from having M&M’s frequently or in high numbers.