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Are Maraschino Cherries Bad For You?



Short answer

Maraschino cherries are harmful treats which should be avoided whenever possible. They have almost zero nutritional value and have many added preservatives and flavorings.



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Long answer

Maraschino cherries are an extremely controversial food. While they are referred to as cherries, many people suspect that the neon cherry-shaped ice cream sundae toppers don't include any natural fruit at all. The truth is, maraschino cherries are made from real cherries. However, those cherries undergo such extensive processing before they are packaged and sold as maraschino cherries that there isn't much left of the original fruit or its natural nutrients by the time they land in stores or restaurants.

Unfortunately, the lack of nutritional value in maraschino cherries is not their worst feature. The substances that are added to the cherries during their processing quickly transforms them from fresh fruit to potentially poisonous candy.

At the beginning of the maraschino cherry processing, real cherries are dunked in calcium chloride and sulfur dioxide in order to bleach and preserve them. While calcium chloride and sulfur dioxide are both approved as safe by the FDA, sulfur dioxide is also listed as one of the top six air pollutants. If a substance is actively polluting the air around us and making it less safe for us to breathe, it's likely that it also has harmful effects if consumed through eating mostly-fake cherries. The negative health effects of sulfur dioxide have even been noted by leading professionals to include respiratory problems, liver disease, and skin rashes.

After every bit of the natural red color has been chemically soaked out of the cherries, they are then soaked in food coloring to turn them into a brighter, more aesthetically appealing shade of red. A common food coloring used in the dying process of maraschino cherries is Red 40, a substance warned against for its potential side effects of increasing risk of cancer, hives, and hyperactivity in children.

Finally, the maraschino cherries are drenched in sugar. One maraschino cherry includes more than two grams of sugar, which adds up to almost ten percent of the average individual's recommended maximum daily sugar intake. Too much sugar can lead to obesity, tooth decay, and cardiovascular problems.

Possible short-term side effects

  • hives
  • rashes
  • nausea
  • blood sugar spike
  • hyperactivity (children)

Possible long-term side effects

  • cardiovascular disease
  • obesity
  • liver disease
  • tooth decay
  • cancer
  • immune disorders

Ingredients to be aware of

Healthier alternatives

  • real cherries
  • other fresh fruits

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Tillen Farms Bada Bing Cherries

  • Natural cherry flavor
  • Preservative-free
  • No artificial colors
  • Two-pack value
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Shaylie F
Published on: 12-29-2015
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Shaylie F
Published on: 12-29-2015
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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