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Your Fav Snacks Are Probably Banned in Europe

The average American grocery shops at least 8 times per month, which means you’re probably overly familiar with the colorful cereal and snack aisles that always seem to draw the eye. While these snacks are tasty, eye-catching and have obviously put a lot of work into their marketing, there’s a big problem we have to address: the ingredients. 

Have you ever taken a trip to Europe, bought one of your fav snacks and thought to yourself, “why does it taste different?” Well, that’s because Skittles, Fruit Loops, M&Ms, Poptarts and other snack-classics all contain ingredients that have been indicated to harm our health. In fact, many items in our snack aisles are banned in other countries because of their ingredients. 

Europe has currently banned over 2000 ingredients that have been linked to cancer and other such negative health affects, which is why your go-to sweet treat tastes just a little bit different. Some common ingredients you’ll find in a U.S. grocery store, that are banned in Europe, include: artificial coloring (i.e. Red 40), Titanium dioxide (also known as E171); Brominated vegetable oil (BVO) (E443); Potassium bromate (E924); Azodicarbonamide (E927a), and Propylparaben (E217). And what’s crazy is that so many of these ingredients are actually derived from corn!

So, if you ever find yourself comparing a US versus UK ingredient list of the same snack, you may end up being fairly shocked. For example, American Oreos contain titanium dioxide, our Fruit Loops contain artificial colors and flavors, and our M&Ms contain all those dyes that make them irresistibly colorful.  

Of course this doesn’t mean you can’t shop at your local grocery store or that everything you eat has the potential to cause you harm. There are good brands out there that use healthy ingredients approved by Europe’s version of the FDA. The best course of action is to read the ingredient lists of everything you buy, do your research on what ingredients you personally want to avoid, and follow good accounts like @thefoodbabe to learn about more meaningful swaps!

However, we also truly believe in the philosophy that All Foods Fit and that there are no bad foods out there so if you find yourself snacking on some M&Ms at the movie theatre or stealing some oreos at your child’s bake sale, don’t beat yourself up. One food is never going to make or break your health. Our goal is to encourage you to be more aware of what you’re putting in your bodies and where all of the ingredients are coming from so that you can make an INFORMED choice. 

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