Candy Nutrition: The Ultimate Guide

Most of the calories in popular candies come from sugar.
Image Credit: bfk92/iStock/GettyImages

Almost everyone in the U.S. reports eating some candy each year — 97 percent of Americans, to be exact, according to a January 2015 report in the journal Advances in Nutrition.

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Depriving yourself of foods that you love has the potential to backfire and cause you to eat more once you finally do, say the researchers.

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The key: Everything in moderation. One way to do that, the researchers write, is by portioning. Consider enjoying a single piece from a larger bag or choosing candies in fun-size, mini or snack size. Here's how your favorite candy bars stack up against other types of sweets.

Candy Nutrition Info

Calories

Carbs

Sugar

Fat

Protein

Butterfinger (1 bar)

250

36 g

21 g

10 g

5 g

Candy Canes (1 piece)

60

14 g

12 g

0 g

0 g

Candy Corn (21 pieces)

150

36 g

26 g

0 g

0 g

Cotton Candy (1 bag)

270

71 g

71 g

0 g

0 g

Crunch Bar (1 bar)

230

29 g

24 g

12 g

2 g

Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar (1 bar)

220

26 g

25 g

13 g

3 g

Kit Kat (1 bar)

210

27 g

22 g

11 g

3 g

Life Savers (4 pieces)

60

14 g

12 g

0 g

0 g

Marshmallows (4 pieces)

90

23 g

16.3 g

0.1 g

0.5 g

Mentos (1 piece)

10

3 g

2 g

0 g

0 g

Milky Way (1 bar)

264

41.3 g

34.6 g

10 g

2.3 g

3 Musketeers (1 bar)

240

42 g

36 g

7 g

1 g

PayDay (1 bar)

240

27 g

20 g

13 g

7 g

Red Hots (25 pieces)

60

15 g

12 g

0 g

0 g

Reese's (2 cups)

210

24 g

22 g

12 g

5 g

Saltwater Taffy (4 pieces)

110

22 g

12 g

2 g

0 g

Skittles (1 package)

251

56.3 g

47 g

0.1 g

0.1 g

Snickers (1 bar)

280

35.1 g

28 g

14 g

4.3 g

Starburst (1 package)

236

47 g

33 g

4.5 g

0.2 g

Toffee (1 piece)

27

5.5 g

4.7 g

0.6 g

0.3 g

Tootsie Pop (1 lollipop)

60

15 g

11 g

0 g

0 g

Twix (1 package)

250

34 g

25 g

12 g

2 g

Twizzlers (3 pieces)

120

27 g

16 g

0.5 g

1 g

Werther's Original Caramel Hard Candies (3 pieces)

70

14 g

11 g

1.5 g

0 g

York Peppermint Patties (2 patties)

100

22 g

18 g

2 g

1 g

Butterfinger

Butterfinger bars conjure up memories of its flaky, peanut-buttery texture. But its first ingredient is corn syrup, followed by sugar; peanuts place third on the ingredients list, followed by peanut flour and non-fat milk.

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According to the Butterfinger website, the nutritional content of one Butterfinger bar (1.9 ounces) is:

  • Calories:​ 250
  • Total fat:​ 10 g, 13% Daily Value (DV)
  • Cholesterol:​ 0 mg
  • Sodium:​ 160 mg, 7% DV
  • Carbohydrates:​ 36 g, 13% DV
    • Dietary fiber:​ 1 g, 3% DV
    • Sugar:​ 21 g, 40% DV
  • Protein:​ 5 g

One fun-size Butterfinger has 90 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 12.5 grams of carbs, 7.5 grams of sugar and 1.5 grams of protein.

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Candy Canes

Candy canes are ubiquitous around the holiday season, and there are as many calorie counts as there are brands. Still, candy canes are primarily made from one thing: sugar.

According to the USDA, one standard candy cane contains:

  • Calories:​ 60
  • Total fat:​ 0 g
  • Cholesterol:​ 0 mg
  • Sodium:​ 0 mg
  • Carbohydrates:​ 14 g, 5% Daily Value (DV)
    • Dietary fiber:​ 0 g
    • Sugar:​ 12 g, 24% DV
  • Protein:​ 0 g

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One popular candy cane brand, Brach's Bob's Peppermint Red and Green Canes, is nutritionally similar: One piece contains 50 calories, 9 grams of sugar and 0 grams of fat.

Candy Corn

This tri-colored Halloween staple is made with sugar, corn syrup, artificial colors and other ingredients. According to the USDA, 21 pieces of candy corn (one serving) contain:

  • Calories:​ 150
  • Total fat:​ 0 g
  • Cholesterol:​ 0 mg
  • Sodium:​ 50 mg, 5% Daily Value (DV)
  • Carbohydrates:​ 36 g, 12% DV
    • Dietary fiber:​ 0 g
    • Sugar:​ 26 g, 52% DV
  • Protein:​ 0 g

Cotton Candy

Cotton candy is a staple at circuses and county fairs, and its calorie count can vary by manufacturer and vendor. But the ingredient list doesn't vary much — you can expect a serving of cotton candy to be made entirely of sugar.

A bag of Fluffy Stuff Cotton Candy (about 2.5 ounces) contains:

  • Calories:​ 270
  • Total fat:​ 0 g
  • Cholesterol:​ 0 mg
  • Sodium:​ 0 mg
  • Carbohydrates:​ 71 g, 26% Daily Value (DV)
    • Dietary fiber:​ 0 g
    • Sugar:​ 71 g, 140% DV
  • Protein:​ 0 g

Crunch Bar

The Nestle Crunch Bar is made with smooth milk chocolate and crisped rice for a crunchy texture. A standard 1.55-ounce bar contains the following, per the Nestle site:

  • Calories:​ 230
  • Total fat:​ 12 g, 15% Daily Value (DV)
  • Cholesterol:​ 0 mg
  • Sodium:​ 0 mg
  • Carbohydrates:​ 29 g, 10% DV
    • Dietary fiber:​ 1 g, 3% DV
    • Sugar:​ 24 g, 44% DV
  • Protein:​ 2 g

A single fun-size Crunch Bar has 65 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 8.5 grams of carbs, 7.5 grams of sugar and no protein.

Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar

Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bars are iconic in the U.S. — so much so that the brand sells many iterations such as Hershey's Syrup and Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme Cookie Bites. But its standard chocolate bar is just that: a simple milk chocolate recipe that consists of ingredients such as sugar, milk, chocolate, cocoa butter and milk fat.

According to Hershey's website, a standard 1.55-ounce Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar contains:

  • Calories:​ 220 calories
  • Total fat:​ 13 g, 17% Daily Value (DV)
  • Cholesterol:​ 10 mg, 4% DV
  • Sodium:​ 35 mg, 2% DV
  • Carbohydrates:​ 26 g, 10% DV
    • Dietary fiber:​ 1 g, 4% DV
    • Sugar:​ 25 g, 43% DV
  • Protein:​ 3 g

Kit Kat

Kit Kats are perhaps the only candy bars that are just as famous for their taste as they are for their commercials. (Just ​try​ to get their "Gimme a Break" jingle out of your head.) Like many candy crunch bars, their ingredients list includes sugar, wheat flour, skim milk, cocoa butter and chocolate.

According to Hershey's website, a standard 1.5-ounce Kit Kat bar contains:

  • Calories:​ 210
  • Total fat:​ 11 g, 14% Daily Value (DV)
  • Cholesterol:​ 5 mg, 2% DV
  • Sodium:​ 30 mg, 1% DV
  • Carbohydrates:​ 27 g, 10% DV
    • Dietary fiber:​ 1 g, 3% DV
    • Sugar:​ 22 g, 38% DV
  • Protein:​ 3 g

There are also fun-size mini Kit Kats, called Kit Kat Snack Size. Two pieces contain 140 calories, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 15 grams of sugar and 5 grams of protein.

Life Savers

The first Life Saver flavor, created in 1912, was Pep-O-Mint, according to the Mars website. Now, this hard candy — with its distinctive, inner-tube shape — comes in fruity flavors like Cherry, Raspberry, Watermelon, Orange and Pineapple.

The nutritional information for four pieces, or one serving, of Life Savers is:

  • Calories:​ 60
  • Total fat:​ 0 g
  • Cholesterol:​ 0 mg
  • Sodium:​ 0 mg
  • Carbohydrates:​ 14 g, 5% Daily Value (DV)
    • Dietary fiber:​ 2 g, 6% DV
    • Sugar:​ 12 g, 24% DV
  • Protein:​ 0 g

Life Savers' ingredients don't differ very much from other candies. They contain sugar, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, citric acid and natural and artificial flavors and colors (including Red 40, Yellow 5 and Blue 1).

Life Savers Gummies, another popular pick, have 130 calories, 31 grams of carbs, 26 grams of sugar and 2 grams of protein per 10 gummies. Their ingredients include corn syrup, sugar, water, gelatin, modified potato starch, citric acid, natural and artificial flavor, artificial color (Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1), mineral oil and carnauba wax.

Life Savers jelly beans are discontinued, but the brand still makes mint-flavored candy. Four pieces of Life Savers Mints Wint O Green also contain 60 calories and only have four ingredients: sugar, corn syrup, artificial flavor and stearic acid (they do not contain aspartame).

Marshmallows

No campfire is complete without s'mores — and you can't make a s'more without marshmallows. Today, marshmallows come in plenty of flavors (such as cake- and strawberry-flavored candies), with calorie counts varying from brand to brand.

According to the USDA, four pieces of marshmallows (about 1 ounce) contain:

  • Calories:​ 90
  • Total fat:​ 0.1 g, 0% Daily Value (DV)
  • Cholesterol:​ 0 mg
  • Sodium:​ 22.7 mg, 1% DV
  • Carbohydrates:​ 23 g, 8% DV
    • Dietary fiber:​ 0 g
    • Sugar:​ 16.3 g, 33% DV
  • Protein:​ 0.5 g

Mentos Candy

Mentos candy was first manufactured in the Netherlands after a pair of brothers dreamt of developing a peppermint-flavored caramel candy. Although there's no caramel in the Mentos Chewy Mint Candy Roll (now, Mentos mainly come in fruit flavors), one piece contains:

  • Calories:​ 10
  • Total fat:​ 0 g
  • Cholesterol:​ 0 mg
  • Sodium:​ 0 mg
  • Carbohydrates:​ 3 g, 1% Daily Value (DV)
    • Dietary fiber:​ 0 g
    • Sugar:​ 2 g, 4% DV
  • Protein:​ 0 g

The roll contains 14 pieces of candy, so eating the entire thing will net you 140 calories. And the fruit flavors have the same nutrition facts.

Milky Way

Contrary to popular belief, Milky Way candy bars were not named after the galaxy. Rather, they were named after a famous malted drink when they were first created in 1923. The chocolate bar is made of milk chocolate and a malt-flavored nougat with caramel.

According to the USDA, the nutrition and calories in a standard 2-ounce Milky Way bar are:

  • Calories:​ 264
  • Total fat:​ 10 g, 13% Daily Value (DV)
  • Cholesterol:​ 5.2 mg, 2% DV
  • Sodium:​ 96.9 mg, 4% DV
  • Carbohydrates:​ 41.3 g, 14% DV
    • Dietary fiber:​ 0.6 g, 2% DV
    • Sugar:​ 34.6 g, 69% DV
  • Protein:​ 2.3 g

The fun-size Milky Way bar contains 75 calories, 3 grams of fat, 10 grams of sugar and no protein.

3 Musketeers

This candy bar shares its name with the famous Alexandre Dumas novel, ​The Three Musketeers​. The bar consists of chocolate and a nougat center, and lists its first four ingredients as milk chocolate, sugar, corn syrup and vegetable oil.

The nutrition and calories in a standard 1.9-ounce 3 Musketeers bar are:

  • Calories:​ 240
  • Total fat:​ 7 g, 11% Daily Value (DV)
  • Cholesterol:​ 5 mg, 2% DV
  • Sodium:​ 95 mg, 4% DV
  • Carbohydrates:​ 42 g, 14% DV
    • Dietary fiber:​ 1 g, 4% DV
    • Sugar:​ 36 g, 70% DV
  • Protein:​ 1 g

The fun-size 3 Musketeers bar contains 63 calories, 2 grams of fat, 10 grams of sugar and no protein.

PayDay

PayDay candy bars boast a crunchy-and-sweet combination. Peanuts share the spotlight with caramel (which is made up of sugar, corn syrup, skim milk and vegetable oil).

According to the Hershey's website, one standard 1.85-ounce PayDay bar contains:

  • Calories:​ 240
  • Total fat:​ 13 g, 17% Daily Value (DV)
  • Cholesterol:​ 0 mg
  • Sodium:​ 115 mg, 5% DV
  • Carbohydrates:​ 27 g, 10% DV
    • Dietary fiber:​ 2 g, 8% DV
    • Sugar:​ 20 g, 37% DV
  • Protein:​ 7 g

Red Hots

Red Hots are cinnamon-flavored hard candies produced by the Ferrara Pan Candy Company. Although many people enjoy eating the candies straight from the package, they're also used to flavor tea, spice up baked goods and decorate other foods, like cookies.

According to the Red Hots website, 25 pieces, or one serving, of Red Hots contain:

  • Calories:​ 60
  • Total fat:​ 0 g
  • Cholesterol:​ 0 mg
  • Sodium:​ 0 mg
  • Carbohydrates:​ 15 g, 5% Daily Value (DV)
    • Dietary fiber:​ 0 g
    • Sugar:​ 12 g, 24% DV
  • Protein:​ 0 g

Red Hots ingredients include sugar, corn syrup, acacia, artificial flavor, confectioner's glaze, carnauba wax, white mineral oil, Red 40, cornstarch and sunflower lecithin.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Reese's peanut butter cups are made from milk chocolate (which includes a confectionary mix of sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate and skim milk), peanuts, sugar, dextrose, salt, TBHQ (a food additive) and citric acid.

According to Hershey's website, a 1.5-ounce package of two Reese's peanut butter cups contains:

  • Calories:​ 210
  • Total fat:​ 12 g, 16% Daily Value (DV)
  • Cholesterol:​ 5 mg, 1% DV
  • Sodium:​ 150 mg, 6% DV
  • Carbohydrates:​ 24 g, 9% DV
    • Dietary fiber:​ 2 g, 6% DV
    • Sugar:​ 22 g, 40% DV
  • Protein:​ 5 g

You can eat the classic PB cups all year long, but the brand also makes holiday-themed cups, with candy shaped like Easter eggs and Halloween pumpkins.

Reese's peanut butter cups — along with Reese's Pieces and Reese's Peanut Butter Chips — are also found in plenty of baking recipes.

Saltwater Taffy

Saltwater taffy is a type of candy made from boiled sugar that was first developed in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The name may have originated after a candy store on the boardwalk flooded in 1883, which soaked all the taffy in seawater from the Atlantic Ocean, according to Britannica. The shop owner then joked that he had "saltwater taffy," which has been the name ever since.

Although the calories in salt water taffy can vary from brand to brand, four pieces, or one serving, of Taffy Town saltwater taffy contain:

  • Calories:​ 110
  • Total fat:​ 2 g, 3% Daily Value (DV)
  • Cholesterol:​ 0 mg
  • Sodium:​ 115 mg, 5% DV
  • Carbohydrates:​ 22 g, 8% DV
    • Dietary fiber:​ 0 g
    • Sugar:​ 12 g, 24% DV
  • Protein:​ 0 g

Skittles

The rainbow may taste a lot like sugar, judging by the Skittles' nutritional label. (Then again, ​of course​ a rainbow would taste like sugar.) One package nets about 47 grams of sugar — almost all of the recommended daily amount.

One standard 2.17-ounce bag of Skittles contains:

  • Calories:​ 251
  • Total fat:​ 0.1 g, 0% Daily Value (DV)
  • Cholesterol:​ 0 mg
  • Sodium:​ 9.3 mg, 0% DV
  • Carbohydrates:​ 56.3 g, 19% DV
    • Dietary fiber:​ 0 g
    • Sugar:​ 47 g, 94% DV
  • Protein:​ 0.1 g

Snickers

Snickers was first introduced in 1930 and is still one of the more popular candy bars in the country. Its ingredients include peanuts, caramel, nougat and milk chocolate.

A standard 2-ounce Snickers bar contains:

  • Calories:​ 280
  • Total fat:​ 14 g, 17% Daily Value (DV)
  • Cholesterol:​ 7.4 mg, 2% DV
  • Sodium:​ 136.2 mg, 6% DV
  • Carbohydrates:​ 35.1 g, 12% DV
    • Dietary fiber:​ 1.3 g, 5% DV
    • Sugar:​ 28 g, 58% DV
  • Protein:​ 4.3 g

The brand also makes Snickers bars with almonds and hazelnuts. While these candy bars do contain nuts, which are a source of protein, Snickers deliver more than half of your recommended daily sugar intake.

The fun-size Snickers contains 74 calories, 3.6 grams of fat, 9.2 grams of carbs, 7.6 grams of sugar and 1 gram of protein. There's also the Snickers 100-calorie bar, which has 100 calories, 13 grams of carbs, 11 grams of sugar and 2 grams of protein.

Starburst

The "fruit flavor" in Starburst candy comes from fruit juice concentrate (cherry, orange, strawberry and lemon) as well as citric acid. But the first ingredients are corn syrup, sugar and partially hydrogenated soybean oil.

One standard 2-ounce package of Starburst candy contains:

  • Calories:​ 236
  • Total fat:​ 4.5 g, 6% Daily Value (DV)
  • Cholesterol:​ 0 mg
  • Sodium:​ 52.5 mg, 2% DV
  • Carbohydrates:​ 47 g, 16% DV
    • Dietary fiber:​ 0 g
    • Sugar:​ 33 g, 66% DV
  • Protein:​ 0.2 g

Toffee

Toffee is a combination of sugar and butter. The manufacturer melts the sugar and mixes in the butter before allowing the mixture to cool. The calories in toffee come primarily from sugar.

The calories in one toffee candy can vary according to the manufacturer — some brands contain more than others — but in general, one piece of plain toffee contains:

  • Calories:​ 27
  • Total fat:​ 0.6 g, 1% Daily Value (DV)
  • Cholesterol:​ 0.5 mg, 0% DV
  • Sodium:​ 17.4 mg, 1% DV
  • Carbohydrates:​ 5.5 g, 2% DV
    • Dietary fiber:​ 0 g
    • Sugar:​ 4.7 g, 9% DV
  • Protein:​ 0.3 g

There are about 30 calories in Parle Melody Chocolate toffee, a toffee candy from India. Food outlets with fewer than 20 locations aren't obligated to list their calorie counts by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so some popular candy stores, such as Littlejohn's Candies, don't list their toffee calories online.

Tootsie Pop

Tootsie Pops are essentially lollipops around a piece of candy. The original flavors, which are still in production today, are Chocolate, Cherry, Orange, Grape and Raspberry (and now include more fruit flavors, like Lemon and Pomegranate).

One Tootsie Pop contains:

  • Calories:​ 60
  • Total fat:​ 0 g
  • Cholesterol:​ 0 mg
  • Sodium:​ 0 mg
  • Carbohydrates:​ 15 g, 5% Daily Value (DV)
    • Dietary fiber:​ 0 g
    • Sugar:​ 11 g, 22% DV
  • Protein:​ 0 g

Twix

A Twix candy bar comes with two wafer cookies covered in caramel and chocolate. The first ingredient is milk chocolate, followed by enriched wheat flour, sugar, palm oil, corn syrup, skim milk and dextrose.

A standard 1.79-ounce Twix bar contains:

  • Calories:​ 250
  • Total fat:​ 12 g, 15% Daily Value (DV)
  • Cholesterol:​ <5 mg, 0% DV
  • Sodium:​ 105 mg, 5% DV
  • Carbohydrates:​ 34 g, 12% DV
    • Dietary fiber:​ <1 g, 0% DV
    • Sugar:​ 25 g, 46% DV
  • Protein:​ 2 g

A fun-size Twix bar contains 80 calories, 4 grams of fat, 10 grams of carbs, 8 grams of sugar and 1 gram of protein.

Twizzlers

One of the most iconic licorice sticks in the U.S., Twizzlers has grown into a brand that includes flavors like Chocolate, Cherry, Grape and the ever-popular Strawberry.

According to Hershey's website, three pieces, or one serving, of Strawberry Twizzlers Twists contain:

  • Calories:​ 120
  • Total fat:​ 0.5 g, 1% Daily Value (DV)
  • Cholesterol:​ 0 mg
  • Sodium:​ 70 mg, 3% DV
  • Carbohydrates:​ 27 g, 10% DV
    • Dietary fiber:​ 0 g
    • Sugar:​ 16 g, 31% DV
  • Protein:​ 1 g

Werther’s Original Caramel Hard Candy

Werther's manufactures a variety of caramel candies, including hard, soft chewy and sugar-free caramels (plus, caramel popcorn).

According to Werther's Original's website, three pieces, or one serving, of Werther's Original's Caramel Hard Candies contains:

  • Calories:​ 70
  • Total fat:​ 1.5 g, 2% Daily Value (DV)
  • Cholesterol:​ <5 mg, 2% DV
  • Sodium:​ 60 mg, 3% DV
  • Carbohydrates:​ 14 g, 5% DV
    • Dietary fiber:​ 0 g
    • Sugar:​ 11 g, 24% DV
  • Protein:​ 0 g

York Peppermint Patties

Made of dark chocolate and peppermint oil (though the first two ingredients are sugar and corn syrup; chocolate and cocoa are third and fourth, respectively), York Peppermint Patties are well-known for delivering a minty-kick at the end of each bite.

Two pieces, or one serving, of York Peppermint Patties contain:

  • Calories:​ 100
  • Total fat:​ 2 g, 2% Daily Value (DV)
  • Cholesterol:​ 0 mg
  • Sodium:​ 10 mg, 0% DV
  • Carbohydrates:​ 22 g, 8% DV
    • Dietary fiber:​ 1 g, 2% DV
    • Sugar:​ 18 g, 35% DV
  • Protein:​ 1 g

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