Whether you've stopped at a gas station or are just passing by the break room at work, it's tempting to reach for a candy bar. These chocolaty snacks have a sweet, satisfying flavor that makes them enjoyable to eat, but they're far from healthy. Candy bars are loaded with added sugar, which can lead to a series of potential health issues.
Sugar in Candy Bars
The size and ingredients of your favorite candy bar dictate how much sugar it contains; in general, however, the sugar content of candy bars is high. A 1.4-ounce toffee and chocolate bar has 23.4 grams of sugar, while a 2-ounce peanut and caramel bar contains 26.3 grams of sugar, and a 1.6-ounce chocolate wafer bar has 22.4 grams of sugar, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database.
Added Sugar Recommendations
It's best to avoid making a habit out of eating candy bars. The American Heart Association recommends limiting your sugar intake to a maximum of 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons per day for men. One teaspoon of sugar weighs 4 grams, which means your candy bar can easily contain more than 5 teaspoons of sugar. Therefore, by eating one large candy bar, you can consume more than your recommended daily sugar intake in one snack.
Health Risks of Sugar
Eating a candy bar on rare occasions isn't necessarily problematic, but a diet filled with sugar can lead to a number of serious health problems. These issues include a heightened risk of heart disease and weight gain. Obesity carries a number of increased health risks, including type 2 diabetes. High-sugar foods such as candy bars have little to no nutritional value, which means they serve as empty calories, calories that don't provide a significant amount of vitamins, minerals or fiber.
Skip the Candy Bar
If you enjoy sweet foods as snacks, reach for a piece of fruit instead of a candy bar. Fruit, regardless of the type, is unlikely to contain more sugar than your favorite type of candy bar. Additionally, fruit is packed with minerals, vitamins and fiber, and its naturally occurring sugars aren't as problematic as added sugar. A medium-sized apple, for example, has 18.9 grams of sugar. The fruit's high fiber content, however, causes your body to absorb the fruit's sugar slowly, which doesn't lead to the immediate blood glucose spike you experience with a candy bar.