Mentos candies are known for their powerful reaction with Diet Coke. Aside from using them for explosions, however, some people snack on Mentos because they provide a sweet crunch without a lot of calories. The candies don't have a healthy nutritional profile, however, so it's best to eat them as just an occasional treat.
Mentos has varieties of mints and gum. The mints are the company's more popular product and come in original, strawberry, cinnamon, green apple and mixed fruit flavors. The Mentos gum comes in mint, red fruit-lime, watermelon or tropical flavor.
Diet Coke Reaction
Mentos candies have earned a reputation as being part of an explosive combination. When you combine a handful of the mints with a 2 liter bottle of soda pop, the mixture creates a geyser, leaving almost no soda left in the bottle. Diet Coke seems to produce the strongest results. According to David Kestenbaum, science correspondent for NPR, the Mentos mints provide a rough, craggy surface that attracts carbon dioxide molecules within the soda. After the mints settle on the base of the bottle, all of the carbon dioxide molecules are released from the bottle at once, creating powerful pressure that pushes the soda up and out.
Performing the experiment with Mentos and Diet Coke can be dangerous and poses a risk of serious injury. It's not safe for young children to do, even under parental supervision, as the geyser that jets out of the Diet Coke bottle is under extreme pressure and can even harm bystanders if the bottle spirals out of control.
Eating Mentos candies is considerably less dangerous than trying the Diet Coke experiment. The original Mentos mint roll has 10 calories per mint with no protein, 2.5 g carbohydrates, 2 g sugar and negligible amounts of fat and sodium. Nutrition facts for the other varieties of mints are similar, although Mini Mentos have closer to 40 calories per serving, 10 g carbohydrates and more than 7 g sugar.
Although Mentos can fit into a healthy diet as an occasional snack, they aren't found in any of the main five food groups that MyPyramid.gov recommends: nonfat dairy, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. Mentos are too high in sugar and simple carbohydrates to be classified as a food that offers nutritional advantages, but it won't negatively affect most people to chew on a mint or two once in a while.