Are Skittles Vegan?

Are Skittles Vegan?

Are Skittles vegan? Technically yes (but always read labels as ingredients can change without warning).

So what’s the problem?

While skittles don’t contain animal products (and some would argue this constitutes vegan), some of its other ingredients directly harm and encroach upon animal habitats around the world (which is not vegan).

There is also our health to consider. Skittles contain very high levels of sugar. They also contain Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil and a fair few different food colourings, all of which are directly linked to a number of our leading diseases (which I detail below).

So in a bit more detail, let’s delve into why I’m not a big fan of Skittles. Either as a vegan. Or as someone who values their health.

 

Skittles Nutrition Profile

Skittles NutritionSkittles Nutrition

A regular pack of Skittles contains 250 calories. It also contains 56 grams of carbohydrates (46 of which are sugars) and 2.5 grams of saturated fat (13% RDA). They also contain 20mg of sodium.

Basically they are just empty calories. No protein. No fibre. No vitamins. No nutrients. No nutrition.

The World Health Organisation recently provided an advisory that says that we should limit our intake of processed sugars to 6 teaspoons a day in an attempt to reduce obesity and its associated diseases. Just to put that into perspective, a bag of skittles contains approximately 11.5 teaspoons.

 

Skittles Ingredients Overview

 

Wrigley (owned by Mars Incorporated) produce Skittles and according to their website , Skittles Original contain the following ingredients:

INGREDIENTS: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, less than 2% of: Citric Acid, Tapioca Dextrin, Modified Corn Starch, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Colors (Red 40 Lake, Titanium Dioxide, Red 40, Yellow 5 Lake, Yellow 5, Yellow 6 Lake, Yellow 6, Blue 2 Lake, Blue 1, Blue 1 Lake), Sodium Citrate, Carnauba Wax.

Skittles Ingredients

As you can see from the ingredients list, Skittles mainly consist of hydrogenated oil, sugar, corn syrup and a lot of food colourings.

Most organisations around the world, including the World Health Organisation recommend that as part of a healthy diet, the intake of refined sugars, corn syrup and hydrogenated oils should be limited because of the associated health impacts.

 

Food Colourings

From the ingredients list you can see that Wrigley’s use a plethora of different food colourings. In Skittles Originals the following are used:  Red 40, Yellow 5 Lake, Yellow 5, Yellow 6 Lake, Yellow 6, Blue 2 Lake, Blue 1, Blue 1 Lake).

Why is this a problem? Well there is mounting evidence from leading scientists around the world, that these chemicals have a direct link to many of today’s leading diseases. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes and even certain skin conditions such as eczema.

 

Food Colourings – Child Hyperactivity and ADHD

During the 1970’s, Dr Ben Fenigold (who was then Chief of Paediatrics in the U.S.), was discredited and ridiculed after he suggested that food colourings used in many common foods could have a disastrous impact on a child’s developing nervous system. He also suggested that this would then have a direct effect on a child’s mood, personality and behaviour.

Many scientists (mainly funded by the food industry) and large food and drinks manufacturers (such as Cocoa Cola) put pressure on the medical establishment to disregard Dr Fenigold’s findings. The medical community ruled in favour of the $200 billion dollar a year industry and it seemed like the argument had been settled. But the truth always has a way of coming out.

Just a few years ago, a leading publication in one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world reignited the argument. The double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed a direct link between food colourings and hyperactivity, ADHD and impulsivity in children who consumed certain food colours and chemicals. Since the study, there has been increased calls to ban or regulate artificial colourings in foods.

 

 

Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil

One of the other problematic ingredients in Skittles is palm oil. It is one of the leading causes of deforestation on the planet (although it is dwarfed by animal agriculture). It causes mass environmental destruction and displaces and kills many animals around the world. So while animal products are not contained in skittles, there is an indirect link to the harm and killing of different species around the world.

 

Conclusion

 

EatThe Rainbow!

 

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The Secret Reason We Eat Meat – Dr. Melanie Joy

The Secret Reason We Eat Meat – Dr. Melanie Joy

 

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Cooking At Home Will Literally Save Your Life!

Cooking At Home Will Literally Save Your Life!

I think it is fair to say that the eating habits of many on western diets are shocking.
 
We live in a society where breakfast is routinely skipped or eaten in the car, and lunchtimes are spent slumped over computers while we tuck into processed refined carbs.
 
The last twenty years has seen a sharp decline in people cooking at home. More people than ever before are regularly eating out. This is unfortunate as we know that if people cook at home the nutritional profile of the meal is more favourable. Cooking from SCRATCH tends to involve more fibre, less sugar and less fat.
 
Simple modifications like these across a lifetime can be profound in terms of preventing chronic diseases. So if we know this then why aren’t more people acting on the advice?
 
Well one of the main problems is that cooking skills are no longer passed down through generations and we currently have large populations who literally don’t know how to cook. This was highlighted in a recent leading UK study (1) that showed a quarter of all men had absolutely no cooking skills (leave the jokes please lol)!
 
Another UK study looked at the nutritional profile of recipes by celebrity chefs against well-known TV ready meals and analysed them against the World Health Organisation nutrition guidelines. The study looked at a 100 celebrity meals and 100 TV ready meals. Not one meal complied with the World Health Organisations nutritional standard and the researchers showed that the TV dinners were healthier overall compared to the celebrity chef meals.
 
If we could find a way to get people cooking again it has the potential to literally transform the health of whole generations. These benefits can still be see in populations who routinely cook at home. For example, a study in 2012 (2) from Taiwan showed that those who cooked at home using fresh local ingredients were living longer healthier lives. The ten year study which analysed the cooking and health factors of elderly Taiwanese people found that those who cooked at home with the greatest consistency only had 59% of the mortality risk. The researchers concluded that these people were living longer healthier lives as their diets consisted of a much higher quantity of fruits and vegetables.
 
So the advice is simple. And there is no excuse not to cook at home. Never before have we had so much accessible information at our finger tips. At the click of a button we can access simple, healthy and delicious recipes. Yes, it takes more preparation, effort and cleaning, but the health results for your family are undeniable.

 

References

 

1.       http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/00070700710761527
2.       http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22578892

 

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Must Watch: Gladiators Were Vegan – Dr John McDougall

Must Watch: Gladiators Were Vegan – Dr John McDougall

In this must watch video Dr John McDougall discusses new evidence that shows that gladiators lived on vegan diets.

 

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101 Reasons To Be Vegan Video

101 Reasons To Be Vegan Video

In this must watch presentation by James Wildman (Human Educator: The Animal Rights Foundation of Florida) he discusses 101 reasons to be vegan.

 

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Vegan Diet Almost Killed Me: Goji Man Response!

Vegan Diet Almost Killed Me: Goji Man Response!

“My vegan diet almost killed me”.

These are the common claims of celebrities like Angelina Jolie or bloggers like Jordan Younger.

In fact, it appears that anyone who has a book to sell or a website to promote has had a brush with death because of their vegan diet (but lets not go there)!

In reality, when you actually look at what led these people to make these claims in the first place, it almost always boils down to one of three things (or a combination of the three). 1) A lack of nutritional knowledge or education. 2) A poor diet. 3) An eating disorder (such as Orthorexia).

 

Vegan Does Not Mean Healthy

 

Walk around any city today and you will see more and more vegan restaurants popping up. Supermarkets are offering larger and larger vegan ranges. And more and more celebrities are on the “vegan kicks” bandwagon. No meat, no dairy and no animal products. Hooray I hear you cry!

So whats my problem?

My problem is that people associate the word vegan with being healthy. Yes, certain vegan foods are healthy for you. Quinoa, vegetables and beans are all excellent choices. Combine them in a meal and you have a perfectly healthy plate of food.

But in reality this isn’t what many vegans are eating. Nope, many vegans are scoffing fake meats and cheeses (like Tofurky and Daiya) like they are going out of fashion. And in my experience, these type of foods are no healthier for you than the junk foods you were probably consuming before you became vegan.

Yes, by eating these foods you are voting against the inhumane slaughter and treatment of animals. You are also choosing to be an environmentalist. But surely in amongst the environment and animal rights you need a prominent place for your health and the health of your family?

 

Embracing The Healthy Past of The Vegan Diet: Plant Based

 

This is always my favourite part – delivering facts.

The overwhelming convergence of evidence is that if one adopts a healthy non-processed plant based diet then it will help prevent and reverse many of the leading causes of death today (1-14).

For example, heart disease, the leading global killer, has repeatedly been shown to be non existent in countries that focus their diets around plants(15-30). This is because the arteries of those on plant based diets are incredibly healthy and often healthier than long distance runners and athletes, for example (31-42). High carb diets (which don’t involve refined carbohydrates) also produce healthier arteries than those on low carbohydrate diets (43-49).

A minimally processed plant based diet has also repeatedly been shown to prevent, slow and even reverse many of the most common cancers (50-53). This includes colon, kidney, breast, prostate and cervical. The primary reason for this is plant based diets contain high amount of antioxidants and other compounds that have anti-ageing effects in the body (54-55). These compounds and phytochemicals have also been shown to repair DNA damage – the leading cause of cancer (56-59). Plant based diets are also Angiogenesis inhibitors (prevent tumours from attaching to a local blood supply) and Methionine restrictors (starves tumours of the amino acid they need for growth) (60-83).

Plant based diets are also superior for:

  • Having a healthier digestive system (84-85)
  • Having a healthier gut flora (86-90)
  • Controlling weight (91)
  • Treating and reversing type 2 diabetes (92-96)
  • Stopping gallstone formation (97-98)
  • Improving cognition (99-102)
  • Preventing Alzheimers (103-114)
  • Raising IQ in children (115-116)
  • Reducing allergies (117-119)
  • Increasing lifespan (120-135)
  • Preventing and reversing Crohns disease (136-148)
  • Preventing and reversing ulcerative colitis (149-158)
  • Preventing kidney stone formation (159-168)
  • Preventing Metabolic Syndrome (169-172)
  • Preventing and treating Multiple Sclerosis (173-187)
  • Preventing and reversing Fibromyalgia (188-192)
  • Preventing and treating Parkinson’s (193-202)
  • Treating asthma (203-206)
  • Improving mental health (207-217)
  • Cutting the need for medications and surgery (218)

This list is by no means exhaustive.

Jordan Younger

 

Before I conclude I just wanted to spend a few moments talking about Jordan Younger. This month (November 2015) Jordan publicly turned her back on veganism and suggested that her vegan diet almost killed her.

Jordan used to run a blog: Vegan Blonde. She had an impressive social media following. But she also had an underlying eating disorder (and my heart goes out to her for this).

Jordan openly admits to previously obsessing daily about her diet when she was a “vegan”. She would put herself through month long 800 calorie a day juice cleanses. She would regularly ignore hunger pangs and count down the hours until her next green juice. She dropped to 105 pounds.

The problems started to manifest when she became seriously malnourished and could barely get out of bed. She also failed to have periods for six months.

During this time she confided in a friend who also suffered from orthorexia and eventually turned her back on “veganism”.

This is not a personal attack on Jordan. I have never met her and I am sure she is a lovely person. The issue I have with all this, is that instead of acknowledging that her health problems were a result of her eating disorder, she simply laid the blame at the feet of veganism. Then to add insult to injury she then rebranded her blog and cashed in with her book: Breaking Vegan.

 

Conclusion

 

If you eat processed foods, lack nutritional knowledge or education or have an eating disorder then you will more than likely run into health problems during your life. This holds true for whatever diet you follow.

The vegan diet can be unbelievably healthy if based primarily on plants. The benefits include longevity and a significant risk reduction for premature death compared to those on standard western based diets.

Equally, the vegan diet can also be incredibly unhealthy if your staple foods are processed and fake. Just like the high animal protein and junk food diets that are killing so many today.

It is your choice whether your choose to follow a healthy or an unhealthy diet. Whatever you choose take responsibility for your actions.

And if you are a celebrity, blogger or journalist with a large public following please do not comment on nutrition if you do not have a sound understanding of the topic or if you don’t hold any formal qualifications. You have a responsibility to your followers and you could potentially jeopardise their health through publicising false or misleading information. There is no ‘one size fits all’, it’s about providing people with information and allowing them to make an informed decision. To be considered vegan – nutrition, animal rights and the environment must play a part in these conversations other wise its called a fad diet. And diets don’t work!

 

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