Mike and Ike candies are rich in added sugar, which is bad for you in a number of ways. They're also made with artificial dyes, which are most likely bad for you.
Mike and Ike candies are high-sugar foods: the risks associated with their high sugar content are well established. Harder to parse are the concerns some studies have raised about the artificial dyes that are used to give them their color.
Mike and Ike candies use four artificial dyes for coloring: Red #40, Yellow #5 and #6, and Blue #1. Advocacy groups like the Center for Science in the Public Interest are pushing for these dyes to be pulled from the market or for products which contain them to be marked with warning labels. The CSPI points to studies that say the dyes cause hyperactivity in children, increase cancer risk, speed tumor growth, and can trigger allergic reactions.
The FDA has resisted, saying that evidence that the dyes are dangerous is not yet conclusive and that a ban or warning labels could put serious economic pressure on manufacturers. The International Food Information Council - a foundation that seeks to promote scientific knowledge - agrees with the FDA. The data, they say, is still too thin to prove the dangers of the food dyes still on the market. Furthermore, they claim that labeling foods with these dyes could confuse the public and hurt sales.
There are other good reasons to avoid Mike and Ike candies, however. They're loaded with sugar: 14 grams per serving, or about a third of your recommended daily intake. Those sugars are added sugars, as well; they're more than half of the added sugars you should eat in a day.
When you eat high-sugar foods like Mike and Ikes, you can do damage to your teeth. The sugars feed the bacteria in your mouth; those bacteria, in turn, excrete acid that damages the lining of your teeth. Eat too much sugary food like Mike and Ikes and those acids will break down the mineral lining that protects your teeth. Over the long-term, you can get cavities or gum disease. Be sure to moderate your intake of Mike and Ike candies and to brush and floss on a regular basis
The sugars contained in Mike and Ike candies are quickly digested by your body. They will hit your bloodstream fast, causing your blood sugar to spike. You'll get a temporary "sugar high" in mood and energy followed by a crash. Afterward, your body will take the excess sugar in your blood and convert it into fat for storage. If you're trying to watch your weight, avoid the blood sugar spikes you'll get from eating Mike and Ike.
Eating sugary candies can also cause long-term health problems beyond cavities and increased weight. It can cause insulin resistance - a condition where your body has trouble breaking down the sugars in the blood. It can also increase your chances of contracting Type-II diabetes. Added sugars like those in Mike and Ike further increase your risk of heart disease, according to the American Heart Association.
Possible short-term side effects
- allergic reaction
- sugar crash
Possible long-term side effects
- gum disease
- weight gain
- heart disease
Ingredients to be aware of
Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)
SmartSweets Sour Candy
- Low sugar content
- Only 100 calories
- No artificial sweeteners
- Plant-based formula
- Gluten-free snack