Mars: Sugar Labeling On M&M's Needed Since 'Candy Isn't A Diet'

Patrick Frye

According to candy maker Mars, sugar labeling on people's favorite food snacks like M&M's is necessary since people need to be told that candy is not a diet. While that seems like an obvious statement to make, Mars is very serious about the issue and there is also good reason to have sugar labeling on all foods, not just candy.

In a related report by the Inquisitr, a 770-pound man was astounded that he could not lose weight on his 10,000 calorie diet, which included his favorite snacks like ranch dressing and ice cream. The grossly overweight man eventually had to get gastric bypass surgery, but unfortunately the success rate for the super-obese is like a coin toss.

Perhaps it is people like that who are the target of Mars' sugar labeling recommendation. Mars said it is making this push public based upon calls by the World Health Organization and the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, who both say that people should limit their sugar intake to under 10 percent of daily calories.

"We want people to enjoy Mars brands as part of a well-balanced diet.... It might appear to be counter-intuitive, but if you dig down a bit more, we know candy itself is not a diet," said Dave Crean, global head of research and development at Mars, according to the Wall Street Journal. "It shouldn't be consumed too often, and having transparency of how much it should be consumed is actually quite helpful to consumers."

Mars candy may generate $33 billion in sales in 73 countries, but they recognize that having unhealthy customers is not good for business. As such, they are backing other health initiatives, including a vow to increase the percentage of its snacks that are packaged with 200 calories or less.

"Mars was also an important, if somewhat unlikely, ally in the fight to get junk food out of schools, and has one of the strongest policies when it comes to shielding kids from junk-food marketing," said CSPI Health Promotion Policy Director Jim O'Hara.

The reason that Mars' sugar labeling push is a big deal is because the Food and Drug Administration does not currently provide a recommendation for the consumption level of sugar on U.S. food labels. As an example, Mars M&M's has 240 calories and 30 grams of sugar, but the packaging doesn't give us a hint on what the daily limit should be.

"Supporting global public health efforts to limit society's consumption of added sugars and labeling our products transparently are steps in the right direction for us and will benefit everyone who enjoys Mars products," the company said in a statement, according to CNN.

Candy might be an obvious choice for providing recommendations on the labeling, but sugar in other foods is also a large concern. Michael Jacobson, head of the consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest, notes that many Americans will duly note that candy isn't a healthy diet, but other foods like yogurt, bread, and sauces may push the sugar consumption over the limit.

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