Saturday, February 16, 2008

Is It True What They Say About Green M&Ms?

For Valentine's Day, The Green Girlfriend got The Green Miles a bag of green M&Ms. The Green Miles did not get it.

I had no idea green M&Ms are allegedly an aphrodisiac. Apparently, I have been living under a rock. Or at least, just taking my candy at face value. Silly me.

Snopes.com, the best urban legends website around, explains:
Mars Company of Hackettstown, New Jersey (now M&M/MARS), has been producing M&M Chocolate Candies since 1941. (The peanut variety was introduced in 1954.) Various rumors have since been attached to different colors of the candy: the green ones are an aphrodisiac; if the last candy out of a bag is red, make a wish and it will come true; if the last candy out of a bag is yellow, you should call in sick and stay home; orange M&Ms are good luck, but brown ones are bad luck. M&M/MARS notes that all these rumors were developed by consumers, not the company.

The rumor that these green candies are an aphrodisiac apparently started or first gained prominence in the 1970s, when students reportedly picked the green ones out of packages to feed to the objects of their desires. (At that time, an average of 10% of plain M&Ms and 20% of peanut M&Ms were green.) Why the green M&Ms were attributed with this power is unknown — perhaps it was because the color green has always been associated with healing and fertility. (The company itself routinely states that they "cannot explain any extraordinary 'powers' attributed to [green M&Ms], either scientifically or medically.") The same "powers" have also been claimed of other candies, such as green jelly beans and gummi bears.
Is it true? I can't say yet. But I plan to test out this theory in what I'm calling the Best Science Experiment ever.
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