Skittles – Taste the Rainbow of Chemicals [Inside the Label]

Skittles are a popular candy manufactured by Mars, Inc. Originally from the UK, the brand was brought here in the late seventies, and has nevcr looked back. The “taste the rainbow” theme has been used extensively in the brand’s marketing campaign. So what’s inside the rainbow?

What you need to know:

Here is Skittle’s ingredient list (which, by the way, does NOT appear on the Skittles website):

Sugar, Corn Syrup, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, Apple Juice from Concentrate, Less than 2% Citric Acid, Dextrin, Modified Corn Starch, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Coloring (Includes Yellow 6 Lake, Red 40 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, Yellow 5, Red 40, Yellow 6, Blue 1 Lake, Blue 1), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C).

Not surprising, the first two ingredients are sugar and corn syrup (a type of sweetener).

The hydrogenated palm kernel oil is a glue to hold all that sugar together, as does the modified corn starch.

Dextrin (E1400) is a white or yellow powder produced from starch. It is used coatings and glazes, and may cause an allergic reaction.

The natural and artificial flavors are trade secrets, and NO YOU CAN’T find out what they are. But these are what give each of the skittles its lime, grape, berry, etc… flavors.

Our “favorite” part of the ingredient list is the rainbow of artificial food colorings, including no less than 9 colorants. Other countries are phasing out these colors, but America just loves children with blue and green tongues, so the FDA maintains the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status of these chemicals. For example, Red 40 is suspected of causing hyperactivity in children.

Don’t expect any nutritional value in Skittles. A single serving 2 oz pack contains 250 calories and a whopping 47 grams of sugar (that’s 12 teaspoons of sugar in a personal bag). Surprisingly, vitamin C content is 50% of the daily value, but that’s because Ascorbic acid has been added to the product. The palm kernel oil contributes 2.5 grams of saturated fat to the mix (that’s 13% of the daily value, from a candy!)

What to do at the supermarket:

There are better choices for sweet snacks. Fruits and dried fruit are at the top of the list. But even if you want something concocted in a factory, you don’t need to opt for the worst. Look for options without artificial colorings.

Help us test our new food comparison tool:

  • Psychic Lunch

    Vitamin C as ascorbic acid is bad for you – something I discovered while researching Emergen-C… 30+ years of studies prove it has a minor beneficial effect of shortening a cold by possibly as much as half a day. However the tissues it acts as a histamine on stay weakened or damaged, leaving you more vulnerable to further colds. Ascorbic acid is only about 1/8th of what makes up regular vitamin C. Avoid synthetic vitamins!

  • Christel

    @Psychic Lunch
    If the tissues it acts as a histamine on stay weakened or damaged, it leaves the consumer who injested additional ascorbic acid more vulnerable to further colds? Interesting. What would you recommend as the best natural form (wihtout ascorbic acid) for a consumer to get their daily intake of C?

    PS – I love Emergen C this interests me…

  • Rebecca

    That’s why I munch on sweets in moderation! ;D

  • kc

    I agree with Psychic Lunch about synthetic vitamins – avoid them if at all possible. Most synthetic vitamins are made from GMO corn or include GMO corn in the manufacturing process. This includes the vitamins added to “enriched” or “fortified” foods. Those synthetic vitamins are only added to try to make Americans feel better about ingesting foods that have had the natural nutrients refined right out of them. Don’t fall for it. Buy raw milk instead of vitamin D fortified milk and whole grains instead of highly processed, enriched cereal grains and replace iodized salt with high quality sea salt. As for the question of how to get daily intake of vitamin C, just eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. By the way, those veggies served along with a good fatty piece of pasture raised meat seasoned with a good sea salt will give you pretty much everything you could need.

  • lola

    i luv skittles but they sound unhealthy im never eating them again thnx

  • Ieshaidb0524


  • Artchick10

     unfortunately my daughter at five loves these. fortunately with discovering the Skittles content of the wonderful Red 40, yellow 5,6 which have been linked to allergies, hyperactivity, ADD,  and effects on Autistic behavior we will fall in love with an alternative candy!!!

  • Starfish101

    I ate skittles yesterday, crazy cores & i luv them but this is disgusting… i am never eating again…

    actually i probably will

  • Anonamusme

    Wow just let my child  have a very small bag of skittles from a birthday party, will NEVER do that do that again! Hes freaking out aggressive, argumentative, and physically acting out in ways I have never seen. Hes even yelling at me??!! As a rule in my family we dont ingest artificial dyes and high fructose corn syrups and never jello. If he would have eaten any more that he did I would have taken him to the dr have never seen my boy act like this. Never again!! Shame on candy companies for making crap that poisons children like this!  

    • Truesadchfb

      Maybe he’s just excited because he’s at a party, you can’t blame candy for a misbehaved kid, you can blame yourself.

    • Maryellen McDermott

      My grandson acts crazy and wild … climbs on roof of house etc. and says wants to jump after eating skittles. Europe would not have banned if it was ok…US is dragging its feet…so stupid!

      • sydney

        Oh my gosh all you freaking people are crazy, really?!?! Jumping up and down, misbehaving, thats what a kid dose!!!!!! And if your kid id misbehaving all the time, and always in trouble, well thats your freaking falt for crapy parenting.

  • 73eastings

    andrew is a guy model for any guy

    • 73eastings

      this is not true my friend was messing around and typed it in when i left the classroom

      • ray


  • Truesadchfb

    You are all ridiculous! How long have people been eating artificial colourings? A long time! And they are fine! You probably ate food colourings when you were ‘younger.’ oh, and look, you’re still alive. Also, basically anything can cause an allergic reaction. People are allergic to things! It happens! Now stop putting you and your children in a plastic bubble, and let them live!

    • Kami6

      I agree you cannot live in a plastic bubble, but to state that everyone is ridiculous because some individuals want to be aware of the food that they ingest is a bit rash. Yes, we all have ingested these synthetic dyes (and all the other artificial stuff that isn’t the best for you). True, you may not have an immediate allergic reaction (if ever) to these ingredients. True that people are allergic to things. But what you fail to acknowledge is the cumulative effects these items have on your health over a LONG period of time. The article is highlighting one example – Skittles, but in reality, these dyes are used in our everyday foods, beverages, pet foods, household cleaners, and cosmetics. Just because you have eaten (or used) something for “a long time” and you are “fine” doesn’t mean that it is healthy or couldn’t cause you to have health complications (in a variety of ways) down the road. Live your life the way you wish and take this information as food for thought, but don’t judge others for making conscious decisions to minimize exposure of these artificial, non-necessary “add-ins” to food/candy, as well as in other products.

      • Hetdhd

        WALL OF WORDS!

    • Alicia Norman

      I have a rare corn allergy–diagnosed by a doctor via blood tests. Skittles contain a lot of corn related products like corn syrup. After eating skittles(when I didn’t know I had the allergy) I suffered from severe clinical depression and developed bleeding hives. It is not ridiculous to stay from things that can potentially hurt you.

  • rabfjhf

    Uh wtf i got wet and i started to masterbate

  • Pass_it_along17

    You people are ridiculous. I want to punch you all in the face. A few fucking skittles won’t hurt you.

    • im-on-skittles

      have you just had some skittles?

    • Larry Shelton

      I ate two 2 pound bags at a sitting now i was fucking nuts don’t you agree. I am 10 years old.

    • Alicia Norman

      Look up allergic reactions to corn sugars and syrups–which skittles have. Sure, corn allergies are rare but they can harm you just like a peanut allergy can. IN my case–a few skittles can and will hurt me–A LOT.


    My 11 year old dauter, which is the middle child, loves skittles. WhenI tell her that it has those ingredients she will definitlly stop eating them but not for long. I also have my oldest daugterwhich is 14,she will definitlly stop eating those too. Just like I said about my middle child. She will get will get back on that shortly, which is not for long. But since my oldest got more since than the middle one, she will probablly will not eat them forever.

    • sydney

      You are all idiots!!!!! Guess what kids should be kids, yah ok sugar is bad for you oh noo??????? Really!?!?!?! You’ve gotta be kidding me, you all need to let kids be kids. I mean tell me that anyone in the whole world hasn’t eaten something bad!?!?!?! You all need to get a life check!!!

  • bob

    this is rediculuos skittles are no harm full in any way shape or form…… GET OVER IT

    • JOEY

      Dont criticize if you don’t even know how to spell harmful, MORON.

      • Angel Reyes

        Shut up BITCH

    • Alicia Norman

      Please look up corn allergies and then retype that message. I suffer from rare corn allergies and Skittles has a ton of corn related product in them. I was diagnosed after seeing my doctor about night sweats, trouble breathing, bleeding hives, depression and suicidal thoughts. My depression bleeding hives often deepened after eating Skittles. I learned that one of the major signs of corn allergies is depression. I have three other major allergies. Wheat, peanut, corn and soy. When I eat those things I get all these symptoms along with swelling and bloating. Wheat in and of itself can also cause a deblitating disorder called Celiac disease that ulcerates and eats away the lining of the intestines (this is largely genetic and my Mother had it). Just because ppl have been able to eat these things doesn’t mean it can’t cause harm to others.

  • Skittleslover

    This article may need an update since Skittles no longer have vitamin C in them either (I literally just ate a package of them and happened to notice that it now says 0%).

  • John freer

    Skittles are made from sugar because they are Candy you idiots. Why do you want to deny kids having a good time ? I am 59 my mother lived to be 92. She wasn’t a vegan . As a child of the depression she ate crap.she ate crap until she passed . It’s called genetics people . Eat food dye eat gluten . Your genes will determine your lifespan

    • Alicia Norman

      As stated before–I have a corn allergy (Skittles is made with corn products)–it is rare and was diagnosed via blood tests after extreme physical distress. When I ate skittles it caused severe physical and even mental problems–I even grew suicidal after eating a whole bag–a symptom of severe corn allergy reactions is depression. Certain allergies (to gluten for example) also cause things like Celiac’s disease–a autoimmune condition that eats away at the walls of the intestines and cause a host of problems. Just because some people were able to eat these things and be okay doesn’t mean everyone can. Eating a diet free of things that harmed me made me feel better physically, givenme energy and helped me emotionally (certain chemical can affect moods) before you judge get all the facts–it could save someone’s life.