What You Didn’t Know About Those Favorite Children Snacks

unhealthy snacks

Does your little one like snacking on Cheetos, M&M’S, Pop Tarts, Fruit Snacks or even Teddy Grams? If you answered yes to any of those, then you might want to rethink their choice of snacks because these bags of tasty munchies are full of much more than processed fats and sugars. They are made with cancer causing artificial coloring and petroleum!

These snacks contain Yellow 5 and Red 40, which are used for food coloring made from petroleum that have benzidine, proven to dramatically raise the risk of developing cancer. The (FDA) has stated that ingestion is typically under the “concern threshold.” However, the tests performed by the FDA don’t recognize the amount that a body can store over time. If your child consumes snacks that contain these harsh chemicals, over time, as the chemicals slowly build up inside, the effects of the toxins can eventually cause significant damage.

Other health concerns from food dyes include hyperactivity, allergic reactions, bed-wetting, ear infections, headaches, hypersensitivity, obesity, asthma, diabetes, eczema, mood swings, sleep disturbances, ADD/ADHD, chromosomal damage, and hives. It’s no wonder the European Union and Britain have terminated the use of food dyes in Europe.

So what can you find in Cheetos, M&M’S, Pop Tarts, Fruit Snacks and Teddy Grams? Let’s take a look at each one and their chemical side effects.


cheetosThis puffy, crunchy, “cheese” snack contains the food dye, Yellow 6, which gives it that orange color. Yellow 6 is also made from petroleum, and is a possibly carcinogen, and can cause hyperactivity, ADHD, allergic reactions, stomach pains, diarrhea, vomiting, urticaria, and migraines.

The “cheese” flavor comes from methyl benzoate (also used in perfumes) and ethyl methylphenidate. It’s definitely not made with “real cheese” as it claims on the packaging, so make sure to check the label!


m&msDelicious chocolate goodies that melt in your mouth, but are made with Blue 2 (a petroleum based product), which can cause hyperactivity and increase brain tumors. M&M’S also contain the food dye Blue 1 (can lead to tumors and death), Red 40 (cause damages your DNA), Yellow 6, and Yellow 5. All of these colorants can cause cancer, allergic reactions, and hyperactivity.

Pop Tarts

pop tartsThis American-favored, quick breakfast tends to be eaten on-the-go, thanks to its convenient design. The problem with Pop Tarts are the frosted flavoring, which is made from tons of sugars (corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose), and tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), a preservative that can cause you to collapse or vomit if consumed in larger amounts (typically one gram or more).

That’s not all, Pop Tarts also have partially hydrogenated soybean oil, linked to cellular dysfunction, and artificial colors such as Red 40, Blue 1 and Yellow 6 that can cause cancer.

Fruit Snacks

fruit snacksDon’t be fooled by these soft, chewy snacks that claim to be made of “real fruit juice”. Although they do contain fruit juice extracts, those fruit juices are not the ingredients that give it the red, blue, grape, yellow, etc. color. The most common food dye in fruit snacks is Red 3, a petroleum product also known as E127 or Erythrosine, linked to thyroid cancer.

Interestingly enough, the FDA banned Red 3 from being used in products that go on our skin, but not in foods that go in our mouths. Still, 20 years later and the artificial food dye is still widely used in foods, regardless of the risks and plea from the FDA themselves.

Teddy Grams

teddy grams
A “healthy” snack made with real honey and whole grains, and available in five different flavors! Although the packaging claims one thing, the ingredients say something completely different. Teddy Grams contain the toxic chemical TBHQ, which can cause nausea, vomiting, anxiety, restlessness, and can damage your DNA.

Healthy Alternatives

Many countries in Europe use food dyes, but these are food extracts from carrots, beets, berries, herbs, and spices like saffron or paprika. You can find a variety of snacks that are made with natural food dyes at your local organic market, or Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Both of which have banned products containing artificial dyes. Another alternative would be to make your own! Organic fruits and vegetables, or natural dried fruits mixed with some nuts and organic chocolates make a tasty treat that everyone will love.