In a strange turn of events, Mars Inc. (the candy giant behind all your favorite treats, including M&Ms, Snickers, and Milky Way bars) is actually toying with the idea of removing their candies from overly sugary treats, reports Reuters.
The company has a public stance that sweets are best enjoyed in moderation, but some of the products their candies are used in—such as the McDonald's McFlurry—conflicts with that philosophy. How? A standard M&M McFlurry has an astronomical 89g of sugar—more than the USDA recommends for an entire day. (The latest dietary guidelines recommend that no more than 10 percent of your caloric intake be from sugar, or about 50g in a 2,000-calorie diet.) So it's fair to say the frosty candy-filled drink is not exactly what you'd call moderation. By ditching the M&Ms (for reference, a snack-size bag has about 30g of sugar), it would knock the McFlurry down to 60g—still more than the recommendation, but an improvement.
In March, Mars Inc. announced that they support the World Health Organization and USDA sugar guidelines, and this move is an effort to live up to that promise. They're currently in talks with McDonald's and other partners about their candies' inclusion in sugar-filled products, like Burger King's Snickers pie and Dairy Queen's Blizzard, which both have substantial amounts of the crunchy candy in them.
It might sound strange that a candy company is getting all gung-ho about fighting the war on sugar (after all, their products are part of our collective sugar addiction), but it's actually a smart business initiative by Mars to dodge criticism from health-minded consumers and regulators. Sugar is the new bad guy, and as more people are learning what all that sugar is really doing to their bodies, it doesn't seem like that will change any time soon. So Mars is getting on board: They've limited all candy items to 250 calories per serving or less, have stopped producing king size candy bars, and became the first candy company in the country to add nutrition facts to the front of the package.
We'll take this as a sign that the effort to limit added sugars in the American diet has really hit the epicenter of the issue, but when consuming sugar in excess is actually considered to be toxic, it might take more than holding the M&Ms.