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Do Brown M&Ms Really Have Less Artificial Coloring? – LifeSavvy


Yellow, green, red, and brown M&M candies are scattered over a bag of M&Ms.

If you’ve ever watched The Wedding Planner, you probably remember the scene where Dr. Steve Edison, played by Matthew McConaughey, tells Mary Fiori, the titular wedding planner, played by Jennifer Lopez, that he only eats brown M&Ms because he assumes they have less artificial colors. So, is he right?

We’ve got some bad news for all of you who have been prioritizing brown M&Ms. They probably have the most artificial coloring.

In the film, the idea posited by Dr. Steve is that because chocolate is brown, a brown M&M has less artificial color. To find out if that memorable movie moment is true, Entertainment Weekly spoke with two nutritionists—Lisa DeFazio and Elissa Goodman. The pair explained that the logic is flawed and is, in fact, the direct opposite.

Obviously, the brown M&M still has coloring, and Defazio said the base candy coating around the chocolate center of an M&M is white. This means unless your M&M is white, it’s still got coloring. Goodman, however, went further explaining that because the coating is white, the brown shade is most likely a mix of several colors to get the correct hue. This means you’re probably getting a multitude of artificial dyes.

Why the coloring avoidance, though? McConaughy’s character never says, but in the real world, some believe there’s a link between artificial coloring and behavior issues in children and others cite potential cancer risks due to studies done in animals. The Food and Drug Administration, however, regulates all food dyes and colorings, and the ones currently being used in the United States have been deemed safe by the agency.

Ultimately, if you’re looking to avoid artificial coloring, M&Ms are probably not the candy for you. However, if—unlike Dr. Steve—you’re fine with popping a handful into your mouth indiscriminately, why not find out how the candy got its name?


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