True Cellular Formulas Team - Feb 14, 2023
Toxic Valentine’s Day Chocolates
(and What to Get Your Valentine Instead!)
Nothing says “I love you” like a mouthful of toxins?! Valentine’s Day is inextricably linked to chocolates and candy, but most of the popular brands found on the shelves of your local store are loaded with toxins. This article will give you the lowdown on which chocolate and candy to avoid this Valentine’s day and what treats to buy your valentine instead.
The Top Offending Ingredients
When it comes to chocolates and candy, not all treats are created equal. Many people might think all confectionery is unhealthy, but it depends on which ingredients it is made of. Especially in the realm of chocolate, it is possible to find whole-food chocolate that is genuinely nutritious for the body. It comes down to understanding what’s on the ingredients list and deciphering good from bad.
This list highlights the top offenders and why you should skip any Valentine’s Day sweets that contain any of them!
1. High Fructose Corn Syrup
This highly processed sweetener is made from corn, which is typically a genetically modified food loaded with the toxic cancer-causing herbicide Glyphosate.1 HFCS is an industrially processed, thick syrup containing unnaturally high fructose levels. Added sugars and high fructose corn syrup are considered the primary causes of obesity in America. Weight gain abetted by high-calorie foods containing HFCS can also contribute to heart disease, diabetes, fatty liver disease, dyslipidemia, and other fats in the blood.2
As a highly refined and processed product, HFCS is also loaded with high amounts of other toxins, including mercury.3
2. Soy Lecithin
Soy lecithin is a binding agent typically made from GMO soy, extracted by a process that uses hexane, a known carcinogen, and neurotoxin.4 Soy lecithin is usually contaminated with pesticides and insecticides, which can cause human allergies.5 As a soy product, it is also estrogen-mimicking.6 Although it is only found in small amounts of chocolate, it is also in a high amount of processed foods and products, meaning your daily exposure may be much greater than you think!
Although vanillin sounds like vanilla, it is a cheap imitation often made from guaiacol, which is a precursor to petrochemicals (a product from oil).7 Vanillin is a cheap substitute used in low-quality chocolate, so if you find vanillin instead of vanilla on the ingredients list, you can almost guarantee other ingredients on the list will be suspect in terms of health!
Carrageenan is an additive that has become increasingly unpopular in the health industry, as it is now a known carcinogen. Research in animals indicates that it causes gut tumors and ulcers and may even trigger colon cancer, but it is still commonly used as a thickening agent food additive.8
5. Artificial Colors
Although the appeal to red, heart-shaped candy is appealing (especially to kids) on valentine’s day, many artificial food dyes have been linked to an array of health concerns, including cancer, genotoxicity, allergies, and gut dysbiosis.9 Artificial red dye, known as Red 3, is especially problematic as far as health concerns go in the realm of artificial colors, so much so that it has been banned in cosmetics but not yet in food!10
Best to avoid them altogether. Luckily, many brands are coming out with alternatives to offer alluring, delicious-looking red candy without the nasties. Usually, an ingredient like beetroot power is used instead!
6. Artificial Flavors
Artificial flavors contain a wide range of possible ingredients that we can’t actually know what it is from the label alone.10 If we cannot find a truly natural flavor, it is likely because it is not a food product. Trying to “improve” nature’s flavors using synthetic, lab-made substances is a major turn-off!
Like vanillin, PGPR is another cheap substitute for chocolate. It is used to cut the costs of cacao butter and is made from castor beans. Instead of calling it by its full name of polyglycerol polyricinoleate, most labels use the umbrella term “emulsifier” to hide the reality that your chocolate is being cut with cheap oils instead.
Although sorbitol is “generally considered safe” in foods, it is an additive that has been linked to health concerns when consumed in higher doses. One study links high doses of sorbitol per day with the development of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which is caused by gut impermeability. Studies suggest the symptoms of IBS are amplified even more when sorbitol is combined with fructose: a common combination in many of these highly processed valentine’s day products.12
9. Titanium Dioxide
Titanium dioxide is added to candies to create a smooth finish and add shine and brightness to the synthetic coloring.13 You’ll find the ingredient listed on most of the store-bought candies, including popular brands like Skittles and Starburst. Due to safety concerns about the toxicity of titanium dioxide, European Food Safety regulators have banned the ingredient.14 Even nanoparticle amounts of titanium dioxide can build up in the body, which can break DNA strands and cause chromosomal damage.13
10. Heavy Metals
You won’t see heavy metals on your chocolate’s ingredients list. Still, recent studies highlight how common it is to find heavy metals in even the (seemingly) healthiest of chocolate brands.15 Studies show lead and cadmium are the most common offenders in chocolate, including organic chocolate brands with no nasty additives like the ones mentioned above.
A Consumer Report tested a wide range of chocolate bars and found that eating just a single ounce a day from one of the 23 bars tested would expose an adult to cadmium or lead over the level reported as safe by public health authorities.15
The reality with chocolates, like most foods, is that how the foods are grown and processed will result in added toxins (or not). In our modern world, many soils are contaminated, and processing steps involve more exposure to toxins that don’t make their way onto the labels.
Popular Toxic Valentine’s Treats to Avoid (and Which to Buy Instead)
To save you some time, we compiled a list of some of the most popular chocolates and candy filled with toxic ingredients that you should avoid. On the Good List, you’ll find alternatives that aren’t filled with the nasties so you can share sweets without the guilt.
The Naughty List
- Hershey’s Kisses
- Lindor Truffles
- Lindt Assorted Chocolates
- Reese’s Hearts
- Toblerone Valentine’s Bar
- Haribo Goldbear Gummi Candy
- Hershey’s Milk Chocolate
- Hershey’s Strawberry or Caramel filled hearts
- Snicker’s Heart
- Russel Stover Chocolate
- M&M’s Milk Chocolate
- Butterfinger Hearts
- Sourpatch Kids
- Quaker Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bar Valentine Minis
- Sour Patch Kids Message Hearts Valentine Candy
- Brach’s Gummy Conversation Hearts
- Meijer Red & White Valentine Gummi Bears
The Good List
- YumEarth Organic Pops
- Surg Sweets Organic Fruity Bears
- Alter Eco Organic Truffles
- Little Duck Organics Real Fruit Snack
- Equal Exchange Organic Milk Chocolate Minis
- Torie & Howard Organic Chewie Fruities
- YumEarth Organic Sour Beans
- LesserEvil Organic Dark Chocolate & Himalayan Pink Salt Popcorn
- Unreal Milk Chocolate Gems
- Black Forest Organic Gummy Hearts & Bears
- Justin’s Nut Butter Cups
- Theo Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Note on the ‘good list’: these chocolates and candies contain no nasty additives, but much of the world’s cacao is contaminated with heavy metals due to the way cacao is grown and processed.13 As a result, it can be beneficial to pursue detoxification support no matter how good the ingredients on the labels are. The reality is that modern conveniences and globalism have led to a more polluted world. A more polluted world means that no matter how much we try to avoid the bad stuff, we are chronically exposed one way or another.
Although it doesn’t prevent all contamination, choosing organic treats does eliminate a huge range of artificial and toxic additives. If there is a blind label to look for when it comes to dodging the most problematic ingredients: it’s organic. As aforementioned, even organic soil and crops can be contaminated by heavy metals and even the glyphosate found in neighboring farms and through irrigation with tap water. Overall, buying organic helps a lot.
Detox from Past Valentine’s Mistakes
Although you can’t detox from the memories of last year’s terrible v-day date… you can absolutely mitigate the damage from all the toxic chocolates and candy you consumed over the years!
To help undo past exposure to toxins like the kinds found in many valentine’s day chocolates and candy on the markets, reach for CytoDetox®, a potent liposomal zeolite clinoptilolite with fulvates. CytoDetox supports the removal of environmental toxins like heavy metals, chemicals, pesticides, and biotoxins at the cellular level, safely and 100% naturally.16
For the times when you’re unsure about the quality of your food or are making an exception to your regular mindful eating, TrueCarbonCleanse™ - Gut Detoxifier is a supplement you can use to buffer the impact of toxins. This binder contains activated carbon, powerful humates (humic and fulvic acids), Cleanoptilite™️ (clinoptilolite - zeolite crystals), and other gut detoxifiers that can attach to and eliminate toxins.17
Valentine’s day might be a great opportunity to show a loved one some attention with chocolate or candy, but avoid poisoning them with mainstream confectionary goods filled with toxic ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, soy lecithin, carrageenan, and artificial colors and flavors. Stick to products with clean ingredients to show your love without a dose of toxicity!
- Liles, Honah, and Samantha Cassetty. “Why High-Fructose Corn Syrup Isn't Causing America's Obesity Epidemic and What's Really at Fault.” Insider, Insider, 26 May 2022, www.insider.com/guides/health/diet-nutrition/is-corn-syrup-bad-for-you.
- “What Makes High Fructose Corn Syrup so Bad?” Hartford Hospital | Hartford, CT, www.hartfordhospital.org/about-hh/news-center/news-detail?articleId=27851&publicid=461.
- Dufault, Renee et al. “Mercury from chlor-alkali plants: measured concentrations in food product sugar.” Environmental health : a global access science source vol. 8 2. 26 Jan. 2009, doi:10.1186/1476-069X-8-2
- Occupational Health Branch - California. www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CCDPHP/DEODC/OHB/Pages/OHB.aspx.
- Mounts, T.L. Chemical and physical effects of processing fats and oils. J Am Oil Chem Soc58, 51A–54A (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02666073
- Behr, Maximilian, et al. “Estrogens in the Daily Diet: In Vitro Analysis Indicates That Estrogenic Activity Is Omnipresent in Foodstuff and Infant Formula.” Food and Chemical Toxicology, vol. 49, no. 10, 2011, pp. 2681–2688., doi:10.1016/j.fct.2011.07.039.
- “Ewg Skin Deep®: What Is Vanillin.” EWG, www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredients/724800-VANILLIN/.
- Tobacman, J K. “Review of harmful gastrointestinal effects of carrageenan in animal experiments.” Environmental health perspectives vol. 109,10 (2001): 983-94. doi:10.1289/ehp.01109983
- Kobylewski, Sarah, and Michael F Jacobson. “Toxicology of food dyes.” International journal of occupational and environmental health vol. 18,3 (2012): 220-46. doi:10.1179/1077352512Z.00000000034
- Kirchner, Lauren. “Why Is Red Dye No. 3 Banned in Cosmetics but Still Allowed in Food?” Consumer Reports, www.consumerreports.org/health/food-additives/red-dye-3-banned-in-cosmetics-but-still-allowed-in-food-a3467381365/.
- Group, EWG - Environmental Working. “EWG's Food Scores Just Took the Work out of Grocery Shopping for Me!” EWG, www.ewg.org/foodscores/content/natural-vs-artificial-flavors/.
- Symons, P et al. “Symptom provocation in irritable bowel syndrome. Effects of differing doses of fructose-sorbitol.” Scandinavian journal of gastroenterology vol. 27,11 (1992): 940-4. doi:10.3109/00365529209000167
- “Roses Are Red, Candy Is Sweet, Avoid These Additives in Your Valentine's Day Treat.” Environmental Working Group, 10 Feb. 2023, www.ewg.org/news-insights/news/2023/02/roses-are-red-candy-sweet-avoid-these-additives-your-valentines-day.
- EFSA FAF Panel (EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Flavourings), 2021. Scientific Opinion on the safety assessment of titanium dioxide (E171) as a food additive. EFSA Journal 2021;19(5):6585, 130 pp. https://doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2021.6585
- Loria, K., & Bergmann, D. visualizations by A. (2022, December 15). Lead and cadmium could be in Your dark chocolate. Consumer Reports. Retrieved December 21, 2022, from https://www.consumerreports.org/health/food-safety/lead-and-cadmium-in-dark-chocolate-a8480295550/
- Mastinu, Andrea et al. “Zeolite Clinoptilolite: Therapeutic Virtues of an Ancient Mineral.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 24,8 1517. 17 Apr. 2019, doi:10.3390/molecules24081517
- “Activated Charcoal.” Activated Charcoal, www.poison.org/articles/activated-charcoal.