Fat-free and lower in calories than many other types of candy, such as milk chocolate, gummy bears might appear to be a healthier sweet treat, but that's just not so. While the occasional gummy bear or two won't have a negative impact on your health, regularly popping several of the candies into your mouth at a time can cause you to consume too much sugar. Gummy bears don't supply vitamins and minerals either, which means they have little nutritional value.
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Sad Sugar Facts
Gummy bears are almost all sugar. A serving of the average gummy bears, which is about 17 or 18 pieces, contains between 21 and 22 grams of sugar. That amount of sugar is equal to between 5.25 and 5.5 teaspoons of sugar. The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar each day and men no more than 9 teaspoons. Regularly consuming more sugar than that increases your risk of obesity and heart disease. The Cleveland Clinic notes that too much sugar also leads to inflammation in your body and high blood pressure.
Protein Is a Pro
A 17- or 18-piece serving of gummy bears supplies between 2 and 3 grams of protein. That translates to between 4 percent and 6 percent of the 46 grams of protein women need each day and between 4 percent and 5 percent of the 56 grams men require daily. Protein is essential for your body to function properly, but gummy bears aren't the most nutritious way to ensure that you get enough of this vital nutrient. The Centers for Disease Control recommends getting your protein from lean meat, fish, low-fat dairy foods, nuts, seeds, eggs and beans.
No Vitamins and Minerals
A serving of gummy bears supplies nothing in the way of vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium and vitamin C. When you consume gummy bears, you're still taking in calories, however, with between 110 and 140 per serving. That leaves less room in your diet for more nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. For example, if you choose to have a handful of gummy bears for a snack instead of an apple, you're missing out on the potassium, vitamin C and fiber that the apple supplies.
Including Gummy Bears in Your Diet
The occasional serving of gummy bears won't ruin your health or wreck your diet, but make them a rare splurge rather than an regular part of your healthy eating plan. When you do decide to have gummy bears, factor their calorie and sugar content into the rest of your daily menu so you don't end up consuming more calories and sugar than you need. The rest of the time, choose healthier treats, such as fresh fruit with plain yogurt, because you'll still get the sweet taste you're craving, but you'll also get key vitamins and minerals that gummy bears don't supply.