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Can Lucky Charms Cause Diarrhea? – 4 Reasons Why It Can!

Lucky Charms is a cereal made from oats with yummy marshmallow pieces. You may have heard it in the commercials being referred to as “magically delicious”. But did you know that it can also be nutritious? Lucky Charms has been enriched with vitamins and minerals to help make it a healthy choice. But it’s important to note that it also has a fair amount of sugar, so it may not be the best breakfast option for everyone. Moreover, can Lucky Charms cause diarrhea? Read on to find out!

Lucky Charms: Background Info

Source: nytimes.com

In 1964, Lucky Charms cereal was introduced to the public by General Mills. It had various shapes like fish, bells, clovers, arrowheads, and x-shaped oat pieces, along with marshmallows that were shaped like pink hearts, green clovers, yellow moons, and orange stars. The creator of this cereal was a product developer named John Holahan. He tried different combinations of Cheerios cereal and chopped-up pieces of his favorite Circus Peanuts to come up with the perfect recipe.

On St. Patrick’s Day of the same year, Lucky the Leprechaun made his first appearance in full-color print ads that were published in Sunday comics and comic books. There were also animated television ads that introduced the cereal to kids and adults alike. For five decades now, Lucky Charms has continued to offer frosted oats and colorful marshmallows to the appreciative market.

Here are the nutrition facts of a cup (36 grams) of Lucky Charms Magic Gems with the respective percentage of the daily value (DV) based on the recommended 2000-calorie per day diet:

Calories 140

Total Fat 1.5g (2% DV)

Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV)

Sodium 230mg (10% DV)

Total Carbohydrate 30g (11% DV)

Dietary Fiber 2g (7% DV)

Added Sugars 12g (24%)

Protein 3g

Vitamin D 2mcg (10% DV)

Calcium 130mg (10% DV)

Iron 3.6mg (20% DV)

Potassium 75mg (2% DV)

Folic Acid 45mcg

Vitamin A (10% DV)

Vitamin C (10% DV)

Thiamin (20% DV)

Riboflavin            (10% DV)

Niacin (10% DV)

Vitamin B6 (20% DV)

Folate (20% DV)

Vitamin B12 (20% DV)

Phosphorus (8% DV)

Magnesium (8% DV)

Zinc (20% DV)

Ingredients are: Whole Grain Oats, Corn Starch, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Modified Corn Starch, Gelatin, Dextrose, Contains 2% or less of Salt, Trisodium Phosphate, Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5 & 6, Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols), and Natural and Artificial Flavor.

Source: isitbadforyou.com

Eating Lucky Charms does provide certain benefits and these include:

  • Contains whole grain oats
  • Gluten-free cereal
  • Fortified with vitamins and minerals
  • Good source of energy
  • Good source of fiber
  • Good source of protein.
  • Kids love its taste!

In addition, Lucky Charms is also available in other varieties and flavors you’ll love such as:

  • Lucky Charms Gluten-Free Marshmallow
  • Fruity Lucky Charms
  • Chocolate Lucky Charms
  • Lucky Charms Honey Clover

Can Lucky Charms Cause Diarrhea?

In spite of its popularity among consumers, not everything went smoothly for Lucky Charms. Towards the end of 2021, a lot of people started feeling sick with symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting right after consuming Lucky Charms cereal. They reported their illness to a food safety website called iwaspoisoned.com, which has received over 3000 complaints from people who got sick after eating the cereal.

The Food and Drug Administration ( FDA) also received over a hundred complaints in 2022 and is now looking into the matter.

Can Lucky Charms cause diarrhea? Here are some of the reasons why it can:

  1. Lucky Charms have added sugar.

Source: luckycharms.com

Lucky Charms has high sugar content, with 12 grams of added sugar in one serving (equivalent to 1 cup or 36 grams). This means that Lucky Charms have six times more sugar than Cheerios and four times more sugar than Corn Flakes. It also has as much sugar content as Froot Loops and Fruity Pebbles.

The American Heart Association suggests that women should have no more than 25 grams of sugar a day, while men should have no more than 36 grams of sugar a day. Therefore, eating just two to three cups of Lucky Charms would use up your entire daily sugar intake.

When you eat foods that contain added sugar, your body needs to break down the sugar molecules in order to use them for energy. If you consume too much added sugar, your body may not be able to break it down completely in your small intestine. This can lead to the sugar passing into your large intestine, where it can be fermented by bacteria.

The fermentation process produces gas and other substances that can irritate your intestinal lining and cause diarrhea. Furthermore, consuming a lot of sugar can also draw water into your intestine, which can further contribute to loose stools and diarrhea.

  1. Lucky Charms contain magnesium.

Magnesium is a mineral that is essential for various bodily functions. It is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including muscle and nerve function, protein synthesis, blood sugar regulation, and blood pressure regulation.

In the body, magnesium is primarily found in bones, muscles, and soft tissues. It is also involved in the metabolism of calcium, vitamin D, and potassium. In adults, the recommended consumption of magnesium is between 320 to 420 milligrams per day. Magnesium can be obtained from eating foods such as whole grains, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and fish.

However, consuming too much magnesium can cause diarrhea in some people. Magnesium is a natural laxative and can increase the water content of stool, which can lead to diarrhea.

  1. Lucky Charms contain trisodium phosphate.

Source: luckycharms.com

Trisodium phosphate is an ingredient that’s commonly added to food to help make it last longer on store shelves. It’s made from a combination of sodium and phosphate and can serve many purposes in food including helping to thicken it, keep it moist, and regulate its acidity.

Even though the FDA has approved the use of trisodium phosphate in food, some health experts are still worried about its potential risks. You can find this additive in many types of processed foods such as bread, cheese, canned soups, and packaged baked goods. In Lucky Charms cereal, it’s used to adjust the color and acidity of the cereal.

According to the FDA, it’s safe for people to eat up to 70 grams of trisodium phosphate per day. However, consuming too much of it can lead to gastrointestinal symptoms like stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.

  1. Lucky Charms contain food dyes.

When you eat food that contains artificial food dyes, especially Red 40, your body may react differently than it would to natural foods. Some people are more sensitive to these food additives than others, and for those people, consuming food dyes can irritate their digestive system and cause diarrhea.

Artificial food dyes are made up of chemicals that are not naturally found in natural foods. These chemicals can be difficult for your body to digest, especially in large amounts. When your body struggles to break down these chemicals, it can lead to an upset stomach, cramping, and diarrhea.

Furthermore, some people may also have an allergic reaction to certain food dyes, which can also cause diarrhea as part of their symptoms.

Other Side Effects Of Lucky Charms

On the other hand, aside from gastrointestinal symptoms, here are some more short-term and long-term side effects of eating Lucky Charms:

  • Hyperactivity in children
  • Behavioral problems in children
  • Allergic skin reactions
  • Cavities
  • Weight gain
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Green-colored stool

One of the more common side effects of Lucky Charms consumption is having green poop. The culprit here is said to be the blue dye, also contained in Froot Loops and Fruity Pebbles, which combines with bile in the digestive tract and results in bright green poop. However, this is not a cause for concern as it is only temporary.

The Rundown

In spite of the purported side effects of eating it, Lucky Charms is a good source of nutrition because it contains different vitamins, minerals, proteins, and more. Many people love having it for breakfast every day because it’s available year-round. Eating Lucky Charms can help prevent diseases and keep you healthy. In addition, it gives us energy in the morning so we can be active all day long! But can Lucky Charms cause diarrhea? We have just discussed 4 reasons why it does!

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Coreen Tan-Tambasen

A Mass Communications graduate as well as a registered nurse in the Philippines, Coreen has been a freelance writer since 2015. Most of her writing projects are in the health and medical niche, and she is committed to sharing interesting articles about digestion and gut health that can be applied to everyday life.

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