If you turn to sweet treats for a taste of nostalgia, you may soon have to look further than McDonalds and Dairy Queen for your fix. That’s because Mars Inc., the candy company that makes M&Ms, is considering removing the candies from fast-food desserts, including the McDonald’s McFlurry and the Dairy Queen Blizzard. Fans of their other candies aren’t off the hook either—in fact, the company is thinking about pulling Snickers out of the Burger King Snickers pie, Reuters reports.
The consideration was prompted by the high levels of sugar in many of Mars’ products. To put the amount of sugar in a McFlurry in perspective, consider the most recent U.S. Dietary Guidelines, which recommends that Americans limit their sugar intake to no more than 10 percent of their daily calorie consumption. This amounts to 12 teaspoons a day, max, on a 2,000-calorie diet. M&Ms contain 7.5 teaspoons of sugar per serving, which is about a third of the calories in a large McFlurry. Even a so-called “snack size” McFlurry with M&Ms has a whopping 89 grams of sugar, almost double the daily recommended maximum. But will removing the candy make a significant difference in our sugar intake? It can’t hurt, says Toby Smithson, R.D.N., certified diabetes educator and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.
“Reducing added sugar in fast-food desserts will help reduce added sugar in our diet,” she told RealSimple.com. “Keep in mind the fast-food desserts will still contain added sugar, just not as much.”
Though it may come as a surprise that a candy company is pulling their own products out of popular menu items, this isn’t the first time Mars has made efforts to limit sugar and promote healthier food choices. And this past May, when the FDA announced that a new “Nutrition Facts” label—which includes a line listing added sugars—will be required on most packaged food by July 2018, Mars announced that they supported the new guidelines.
“We are now working alongside our suppliers and customers to bring this commitment to life,” a Mars spokesman told Reuters.
Even if they do pull their candy from desserts, the responsibility is on the consumer to make healthy food choices and regulate their added sugar intake, Smithson says, which the new guidelines will help with.
“The added notation of quantity of added sugars in food and beverages makes it more black and white for consumers,” she says. “Added sugars are hidden in most cases and hard to visualize... an amount posted on a label will help paint a clearer picture.”
Read Reuters’ entire report on the changes here.