My husband and kids love DQ Blizzards as much as the next person, and yes, I have to argue with them to get a fruit version and not the Oreo flavored one because it has high-fructose corn syrup, but I never win. And yes, we could argue that non-organic dairy in general is not a healthy option because it contains antibiotics and hormones. However, I have to pick my battles when it comes to what my kids can and can't eat, and in the summer months we enjoy going out for ice cream once in a while.
But here's where my battles begin and end – with these DQ Blizzard Maker mixes. This SKU in particular comes with four D-I-Y mixes so you can make your own Blizzards in the comfort of your home. They are: Vanilla Flavored Dessert Mix, Strawberry Flavored Carbonated Candy, Chocolate Flavored Carbonated Candy, and Bubble Gum Flavored Carbonated Candy. Just the names of the mixes alone give you a glimpse into what ingredients they will definitely contain – artificial flavors. Since I already talked about artificial flavors on the previous page, I'd like to discuss artificial colors.
Artificial food dyes are used to make our food look good, so we think it will taste good too. Our brains are hardwired to recognize colorful food as healthy and nutritious. Artificial dyes in food wake up that subconscious part of our brain to say, "I'm ripe, and I'm good for you! Eat me!" – which couldn't be further from the truth. They contain various chemicals and are commonly derived from petroleum – a toxic liquid oil that is also used to manufacture gasoline, asphalt, and pharmaceuticals.
Some of the most common artificial dyes approved by the FDA for use in food are found in the DQ Blizzard Maker above. They are:
Also known as red #40, this dye can cause allergy-like reactions and has been linked to hyperactivity in children. It is also a potential carcinogen. Asthmatics and those intolerant to aspirin are at increased risk of a reaction to this food dye, which is prohibited throughout Europe.
Most often listed in the ingredients as Blue #1, this food dye has been inadequately tested, however, some studies suggest a small cancer risk. The FDA recently approved spirulina to be used in its place. According to CSPI, Blue #1 can cause allergic reactions.
Yellow #5, also known as tartrazine, is used in soft drinks, energy drinks, cereals, cake mixes, sports drinks, medications, and cosmetics. Reactions can include rashes, skin allergies, asthma, or runny nose. It is also linked to hyperactivity in children. In the U.S. it is mandatory to list the type of food coloring used to manufacture the products. However, in Canada, this isn't the case. Companies can simply write "colour" in the ingredients and that's perfectly legal. However, many companies will list tartrazine in brackets next to the word "colour" since many people are sensitive to it. I wrote an article called "U.S. vs. Canadian Food Labeling: What You Need to Know" if you'd like to learn more.
Slurpee Making Kits
In the same section as the DQ Blizzard Makers, was this 7-Eleven Slurpee Drink Maker. Kids love Slurpees, especially in the summer time, so it makes sense they would want to make them on their own, at home, at any time.
Because this product is only the machine used to make the Slurpee, there are not mixes included. However, the instructions are clear – use your own juice or soda to make them. Looking at the images on the front and side of the box, I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess they aren't suggesting you use a organic, chemical-free juice or soda, but rather beverages that contains food coloring (illustrated by the neon bright pictures), and most probably high-fructose corn syrup. Am I wrong? I don't think so.
Why is High Fructose Corn Syrup Harmful to our Health?
High fructose corn syrup [see image] is at the top of our Scary Seven list of Ingredients. I'm often asked why high-fructose corn syrup is worse for us than other sugars. As I'm sure you've heard, sugar in general is not good for us, but if you are going to consume it, then avoid high-fructose corn syrup. Made from GMO yellow dent corn, high-fructose corn syrup has been shown to promote increased belly fat and insulin resistance – not to mention the long list of chronic illnesses that result indirectly. The fructose in high-fructose corn syrup goes directly to the liver, where it converts to fat. The fat then gets sent to the bloodstream, resulting in increased triglyceride levels, a risk for heart disease.
Did you ever wonder why cola and root beer are brown? That's because companies add caramel color to them. It is used for purely cosmetic reasons. There are four types of caramel color used in foods and beverages, but two of them, 2-methylimidazole (2-MEI) and 4 methylimidazole (4-MEI) have been shown to cause cancer in mice. A study by the National Toxicology Program found "clear evidence" that 2-MEI and 4-MEI are animal carcinogens. Currently, the FDA has not set any limits on how much 2, or 4-MEI can be used in products, but the state of California did. According to Consumer Reports, if a product contains caramel color, and exposes a consumer to more than 29 micrograms of 4-MEI per day, it must carry a cancer warning on its label. However, when Consumer Reports tested samples of soda in the state of California, they found levels of 4-MEI well above 29 micrograms in each can, but those products did not have the cancer label on the package. Caramel coloring is currently under investigation by the FDA.
If you have ever tried a natural cola or root beer, you might have noticed it was clear – but not all natural or organic sodas are. I was curious, so I asked Bill Sabo, The Flavor Guy, why he adds caramel color (organic), to his sugar-free soda line (which is delicious by the way). He told me that it's due to consumer demand. This perception stems from both environmental and cultural factors. Originally, when companies made cola, they extracted the flavors from plants (which were dark), but once they distilled it, the color disappeared, so they added the dark color back in to appear as if nothing was altered. Today that isn't the case. But because that process was done that way for so many years, people expect their cola (and root beer) to be brown. With respect to cultural factors, consumers expect cola to be brown, and if it isn't, they may not buy it. A case in point about the importance of consumer perception is when PepsiCo launched Crystal Pepsi – a clear version of their popular cola. Not long after Cocal-Cola launched Tab Clear. Neither product lasted too long on the market before they discontinued it. Perhaps they were ahead of their time? (It launched in the early 1990s.)
If you plan on buying this 7-Eleven Slurpee maker, I recommend using organic juice or organic soda that only uses 4-MEI free caramel color. It may not contain the bright neon colors your kids might expect, but their health will be better off for it.
- Sign the Petition Now
- Read Page 1 of the Exposé
- Easy Bake Ovens & Other Desserts
- Blizzard & Slurpee Makers
- Jelly Belly Jelly Beans & Other Candy
- TM! Cosmetics
- Tattoos, Body Art, Scented Toys, and Other Cosmetics
- Exiting the Store Through a World of Junk Food