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    How Unhealthy Are Your Favorite 90's Food Mascots?

    Our favorite 90's food mascots were pretty much out to kill us. Need proof? Scroll down to discover which magical ingredients triggered an entire generation to live shorter lifespans than their parents.

    1. Sonny the Cuckoo Bird, "Cocoa Puffs"

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    Diagnosis: CANCER RISK, ASTHMA, AND BEHAVIORAL ISSUES

    The BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) found in Cocoa Puffs is widely used by the food industry as a preservative to prevent oils in foods from oxidizing and becoming rancid. Some researches have found that BHT increases the risk of cancer in test animals, furthering its reputation as a carcinogen.

    Unhealthy Rating: 3/5

    2. Snap!, Crackle!, Pop!, "Kellogg's Rice Krispies"

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    Diagnosis: UNSUBSTANTIATED AND MISLEADING HEALTH CLAIMS

    Claims made by Kellogg's included "now helps support your child's immunity" and "has been improved to include antioxidants and nutrients that help them stay healthy." The Federal Trade Commission also found fault with the company's false claims that Frosted Mini-Wheats improved kids' attentiveness by nearly 20%.

    Unhealthy Rating: 2/5

    3. Trix Rabbit, "Trix"

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    Diagnosis: HYPERGLYCEMIA AND TYPE 2 DIABETES

    The monounsaturated fatty acids found in Trix have been known (in the same way as saturated fats) to promote insulin resistance, a physiological condition in which cells fail to respond to the hormone insulin. The body produces insulin, but the cells become resistant and are unable to use it effectively, leading to hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia. The latter is often undetected, contributing to Type 2 Diabetes.

    Unhealthy Rating: 3/5

    4. Buzz, "Honeynut Cheerios"

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    Diagnosis: AUTISM AND REPRODUCTIVE DISORDERS

    The popular "health brand" has been criticized by the American Public Health Association and American Nurses Association for utilizing Modified Corn Starch, a particularly toxic and controversial GMO. Human studies have shown genetically modified (GM) foods can leave behind unwanted material inside us, causing long-term health problems. Since 1996, GMO's have been linked to reproductive disorders, autism, and infertility.

    Unhealthy Rating: 2/5

    5. Count Chocula, "Count Chocula"

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    Diagnosis: HYPERACTIVITY

    The Red 40 (Allura Red AC) Dye used in Count Chocula has been banned in Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, France and Switzerland. In the United States however, Allura Red AC is approved by the FDA and is used in many soft drinks, children's medications, and cotton candy. Studies have shown that certain mixtures of artificial food colors and preservatives such as sodium benzoate are associated with increases in hyperactive behavior in children.

    Unhealthy Rating: 4/5

    6. Tony the Tiger, "Frosted Flakes"

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    Diagnosis: OBESITY, CARDIOVASCULAR, LIVER DISEASE

    Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) are two of the main ingredients in Frosted Flakes, which have been linked to an increase in obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in children. Critics of the extensive use of High Fructose Corn Syrup argue that the highly processed substance is more harmful to humans than regular sugar, contributing to weight gain by affecting normal appetite functions.

    Unhealthy Rating: 4/5

    7. Lucky the Leprechaun, "Lucky Charms"

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    Diagnosis: LASTING ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE

    Lucky Charms' primary food additive, Trisodium Phosphate, has declined steadily in the western world due to ecological damage from lakes and rivers through a process known as eutrophication. The aquatic ecosystem's response to phosphates is extremely costly and can take up to 1,000 years to be reversed. Phosphates are also responsible for hypoxia (the depletion of oxygen in water), which has been known to reduce fish and other animal life.

    Unhealthy Rating: 4/5

    8. Horatio Magellan Crunch- "Cap'n Crunch"

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    Diagnosis: GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION

    Cap’n Crunch was once the No. 1 breakfast cereal in America, but pressure from the White House and health activists had such a tremendous effect on PepsiCo and other food companies peddling sugary products to kids that they finally forced the good Cap'n out. Long derided by health experts for its high sugar content, the cereal is no longer being actively marketed by Quaker after sales fell 6.8% in 2010.

    Unhealthy Rating: 5/5

    9. Toucan Sam, "Froot Loops"

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    Diagnosis: BRAIN CANCER

    Froot Loops is known for using Blue 2 (Indigo Dye) to make its cereal more visually appealing to children. Yet while the FDA argues that the dye is safe for use in food and supplements, the CSPI warns that it is not safe for human consumption after a study linked the dye to brain cancer and abnormal cell development in rats. It that's not enough, consider this: indigo dye is how our jeans get their blue pigment.

    Unhealthy Rating: 4/5

    10. Chester Cheetah, "Cheetos"

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    Diagnosis: HEART PALPITATIONS AND DEPRESSION

    The high amount of MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) found in Cheetos has been linked to asthma, skin rashes, headaches, moodiness, irritability, IBS, heart palpitations, and depression. To make matters worse, the brand's spicy cornmeal sticks Hot Cheetos have been known to trigger severe abdominal pain and ulcers in small children-- fulfilling the company's "dangerously cheesy" guarantee.

    Unhealthy Rating: 4/5

    11. Burger King Kid's Club, "Burger King"

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    Diagnosis: HEART DISEASE

    The average Burger King's kid meal contains about 4 grams of Trans Fat, which places children well within the risk of developing CHD (Coronary Heart Disease). CHD is not only the most common form of heart disease, a 2006 study estimated that over 100,000 deaths per year in the United States were attributed to the consumption of trans fats.

    Unhealthy Rating: 5/5

    12. Punchy, Hawaiian Punch

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    Diagnosis: CHROMOSOMAL ABERRATIONS

    The famed Hawaiian Punch preservative Potassium Sorbate is a well known skin, eye, and respiratory irritant. Yet while some research suggests it has a long term safety record, in vitro studies have proven that it is both genotoxic and mutagenic to human blood cells. Not only is it toxic to human DNA in peripheral blood lymphocytes, it negatively affects immunity and can damage DNA molecules.

    Unhealthy Rating: 4/5

    13. Caesar, "Little Caesar's"

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    Diagnosis: TUMORS, ANXIETY ATTACKS

    Little Caesar's signature pizzas contain high levels of Pantothenic Acid and Polyunsaturated Fat. While studies on animals have shown a link between Polyunsaturated Fat and the incidence of tumors, large doses of Pantothenic Acid have been known to worsen anxiety attacks by prolonging adrenal fatigue.

    Unhealthy Rating: 4/5

    14. Cool Spot, "7 Up"

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    Diagnosis: ADVERSE REPRODUCTIVE AND DEVELOPMENTAL EFFECTS

    7 Up may have started as a humble lemon-lime soft drink back in 1929, but it contained lithium citrate (a treatment for bipolar disorder) up until 1950. The company added Calcium Disodium EDTA many years later, though the primary use of EDTA was to dissolve limescale. Oral exposures are also known to produce adverse reproductive and developmental effects in test animals.

    Unhealthy Rating: 4/5

    15. Mr. Peanut, "Planters"

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    Diagnosis: ATHEROSCLEROSIS

    Several Planter's Nut trail mixes contain the food additive lecithin, which is converted by gut bacteria into trimethylamine-N-oxide (aka TMAO). TMAO contributes to heart attacks and atherosclerosis (also known as arteriosclerotic vascular disease), wherein an arterial wall thickens as a result of invasion and accumulation of white blood cells.

    Unhealthy Rating: 4/5

    16. Quicky, "Nesquik"

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    Diagnosis: INFLAMMATORY BOWEL SYNDROME

    Nestle's chocolate powder Nesquik may claim that it's part of a "healthy, balanced diet" but the product's inclusion of Carrageenans dictates otherwise. This family of linear sulphated polysaccharides are widely used in the food industry for their gelling and thickening properties, despite the fact that some studies suggest Carrageenans can trigger intestinal inflammation.

    Unhealthy Rating: 4/5

    17. Jack, "Jack in the Box"

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    Diagnosis: PNEUMONIA AND NEONATAL MENINGITIS

    In 1993, Jack in the Box suffered a major corporate crisis involving E. coli bacteria. Four children died of hemolytic uremic syndrome, and 600 others were reported sick after eating undercooked patties contaminated with fecal material. While most E. Coli strains do not cause disease, virulent strains have been known to promote gastroenteritis, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and neonatal meningitis.

    Unhealthy Rating: 5/5

    18. The Noid, "Domino's Pizza"

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    Diagnosis: SKIN DISCOLORATION, LUNG CANCER

    If the Noid were still in our hearts and minds he'd most likely appear orange and yellow from all the lycopene (a food coloring known as E160d) pumped into Domino's hand tossed Pizzas. Even worse, as a smoker he would have developed lung cancer from the copious amounts of Beta Carotene found in Domino's "healthy" Artisan Spinach & Feta Pie. Not to mention traces of Silicon Dioxide (which can induce bronchitis, lupus, and other autoimmune diseases) found inside the crust.

    Unhealthy Rating: 5/5

    19. Chips Ahoy Cookie Guys, "Chips Ahoy"

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    Diagnosis: BONE DEGENERATION AND CARDIAC ARREST

    Don't let the "soy" in Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil cloud your judgment, it's just more saturated fat. These fats are a primary contributing factor for most of the degenerative diseases that exist today; obesity, asthma, auto-immune disease, cancer, and bone degeneration. Among women with coronary heart disease, eating hydrogenated trans fats can increase the risk of cardiac arrest three-fold.

    Unhealthy Rating: 4/5

    20. Cheesasaurus Rex, "Kraft Macaroni N' Cheese"

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    Diagnosis: BIRTH DEFECTS, ALZHEIMER'S, PARKINSON'S

    Don't be fooled by the adorable Cheesasaurus Rex either-- not only is Kraft Mac N' Cheese full of dangerous food colorings (the dreaded Yellow 5 and 6), their "easy mac" bacon products are jam packed with Plasticizers (Endocrine disruptors) and Sodium Nitrates. While Plasticizers have been blamed for birth defects, learning disabilities, and sexual deformations, Nitrates are heavily associated with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Esophageal Cancer.

    Unhealthy Rating: 5/5

    21. Red & Yellow, "M&M's"

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    Diagnosis: FOOD CONGLOMERATE COLLUSION

    Red candies were eliminated in 1976 because of health concerns over the dye amaranth (a suspected carcinogen), and were replaced with orange-colored candies instead. Consumer activists, angered by what they perceived as collusion between the FDA and prominent food companies, put pressure on the FDA to ban it. Studies also show that the dyes Red 40, Yellow 5, and 6, are all tainted with low levels of carcinogenic compounds.

    Unhealthy Rating: 5/5

    22. Charlie the Tuna, "Starkist Tuna"

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    Diagnosis: SCALDED SKIN SYNDROME

    In case you didn't know, StarKist Tuna is now owned by Korea, and is in big conflict with the U.S. concerning quality, safety, and records. In 2010 FDA inspectors found several racks of "thawed, pre-cooked loins" in temperatures "ranging from 76 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit". This raised serious concerns over the secretion of a dangerous exotoxin, S. aureus (more commonly known as Staphylococcus Scalded Skin Syndrome) spreading to infants and small children in the surrounding region.

    Unhealthy Rating: 5/5

    23. World's Most Wanted Wiener, "Wienerschnitzel"

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    Diagnosis: I.B.S., STROKE

    A common ingredient in Wienerschnitzel Hot Dogs is Sorbitol, which has been known to aggravate irritable bowl syndrome (IBS) and cause severe abdominal pain. Sorbitol is essentially a glucitol which the human body metabolizes rather slowly, but perhaps even more damning is the overwhelming amount of sodium in each dog: at a whopping 2,040 milligram's per serving, you're guaranteed a stroke from the high blood pressure alone.

    Unhealthy Rating: 5/5

    24. Kool Aid Man, "Kool Aid"

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    Diagnosis: IMPAIRED NEUROLOGICAL FUNCTION

    Everyone is well aware of Kool Aid's sugary packets, but some may not realize their sugar-free alternatives are just as damaging, if not more, to their health. The artificial sweetener Acesulfame potassium (aka Acesulfame K) found in the product's calorie-free sugar substitute may effect prenatal development, and in some test mice the chronic use of Acesulfame potassium has been proven to alter neurological function.

    Unhealthy Rating: 5/5

    25. Coca Cola Polar Bears, "Coca Cola"

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    Diagnosis: CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE

    Phosphoric acid, used in sugary soft drinks (mainly cola), has been linked in epidemiological studies to both chronic kidney disease and lower bone density. A study performed by the Epidemiology Branch of the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences concludes that drinking 2 or more coca colas per day doubled the risk of chronic kidney disease in some patients. Not surprisingly, other chemicals such as Caffeine were also associated with lower bone density.

    Unhealthy Rating: 5/5

    26. Gidget the Chihuahua, "Taco Bell"

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    Diagnosis: MYSTERY BEEF & PINK SLIME

    When Taco Bell first announced that its meat was only 88 percent beef, customers pondered, what's the other 12 percent? In 2012, an ABC News series dedicated to pink slime included claims that approximately 70 percent of ground beef sold in the U.S. contained the additive, after which McDonald’s, Burger King, and Taco Bell all agreed to discontinue the use of ammonium hydroxide in their beef products.

    Unhealthy Rating: 5/5

    27. Sugar Bear, "Golden Crisp"

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    Diagnosis: CANCER

    In California, the water soluble food coloring in Sugar Crisp known as Caramel Color appears in the state's annual list of chemicals "known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity." California regulators estimate that consuming 30 micrograms of Caramel Color per day corresponds to a 1 in 100,000 risk of developing cancer, and requires warning labels for foods leading to that much consumption.

    Unhealthy Rating: 5/5

    28. Poppin' Fresh (Pillsbury Doughboy), "Pillsbury"

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    Diagnosis: ASTHMA

    It's a good bet Pop n' Fresh will let out a wheezing cough the next time you poke him in the belly. The food additive found in Pillbury's products, Azodicarbonamide (E927), has been linked to respiratory issues, allergies, and asthma by the World Health Organization. In the UK, it is even identified as a respiratory sensitizer in workplace settings where it is manufactured and handled in raw form.

    Unhealthy Rating: 4/5

    29. Yipes the Zebra, "Fruit Stripes"

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    Diagnosis: MEMORY LOSS, DEMENTIA

    Aspartame in gum is absorbed by the buccal mucosa of the mouth, gums, and tongue. Because aspartame is absorbed this way, it makes it a far worse poison than if injected intravenously. Aspartame releases methanol that breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde in the body, resulting in hypoglycemia, memory loss, and dementia.

    Unhealthy Rating: 5/5

    30. Happy, "McDonald's"

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    Diagnosis: CHILDHOOD OBESITY

    Although Happy wasn't introduced in the U.S. until after the 1990's, McDonald's has always been the sworn enemy of children's long term health. It is the largest distributor of toys in the world and consistently partners up with every entertainment company imaginable in a young child's life (Disney, the NBA, Nickelodeon, Hello Kitty, Barbie, Lego, etc...). The company shamelessly fosters relationships with children at an early age to establish trust and belief in their brand, and it's clear the cycle won't be broken anytime soon.

    In Chile however, the Happy Meal, along with kids' meals at other fast food chains, will no longer give out free toys in a move to curb the country's rising childhood obesity epidemic. While similar strategies have failed here in the states (San Francisco famously tried to pass a similar ban but McDonald's circumvented the law by charging 10 cents for toys), there is still a silver lining: happy meals have shown a steady decline in recent years. Whether or not those kids are opting for healthier alternatives, remains to be seen.

    Unhealthy Rating: 5/5

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