Russell Stover makes many candies that are sugar-free. Candy without sugar? Yes, it’s true. Many great-tasting candies use a variety of sweeteners without sugar to give them that sweet taste instead. Diabetics and dieters concerned with their “carbs” can still enjoy a sweet treat without the added sugar.
Sugar Free = Healthy?
“Sugar free” means “healthy," right? Not necessarily. The label “sugar free” means that the food item does not contain any sugar, but it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily low in fat or calories. For example, the Stover sugar free peanut butter cups still have 180 calories and 13 grams of fat per serving. But they do have fewer carbs than regular peanut butter cups and zero grams of sugar. Check the entire Nutrition Facts label on all sugar free items and don’t assume “sugar free” means eat as many as you want.
How Is It Sweetened?
So what makes it sweet if there’s no sugar? Several sweeteners are available. Sometimes, artificial sweeteners are used, such as sucralose, aspartame (NutraSweet) or saccharin. The cooking process plays a big role as to which of the sweeteners can stand up to different amounts of heat. Any sweeteners used must be approved for safety by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Some critics are concerned about the safety of artificial sweeteners, but to date no medical or legislative organizations have noted artificial sweeteners as unsafe for food. Aspartame has been deemed as the food additive with the most scientific research behind it with no conclusions by the American Medical Association or FDA that suggest any danger with using this sweetener. Some people have noted sensitivities to digesting certain sweeteners, but some studies suggest there are no allergies associated with artificial sweeteners. A small percentage of people do have a genetic disorder called phenylketonuria (PKU) in which they cannot break down phenylalanine, a component of aspartame.
Sugar Alcohols Are Still Sugar Free
Check the ingredients statement on packaging to see which sweeteners are in the Russell Stover products chosen. The Russell Stover website indicates that most of their sugar free offerings are sweetened with sucralose (Splenda) and the sugar alcohol maltitol. Currently, there are no ingredient details available online for their wide range of sugar free treats. But sugar alcohols are the most common sweetener for the types of sugar free candies they sell. Sugar alcohols are much more stable for candies that need to be melted or boiled during production. They are made from natural sugars, provide the same calories as regular sugar, but are absorbed and metabolized differently and don't affect blood sugar the same way as sugar. A sugar alcohol will end with “ol,” such as sorbitol and maltitol. It does not contain the same alcohol as beer or wine and can't cause intoxication. But be careful with the amount of sugar alcohols you eat at once because many have been known to cause increased flatulence and laxative effects, confirming there can be too much of a good thing.
Nuts and Chocolates
Russell Stover makes a wide variety of sugar free candies, including nut varieties, chocolates, truffles, toffees, creams, brittle, caramels and mints. Nutrition details should be included on the outer package. Some gift boxes have brochures inside instead. Some online resources, such as CalorieKing, can also give you nutrition specifics for popular items.
Other Sugar Free Candies
Russell Stover also makes sugar free hard candies, jellies and gummies. These options are usually lower in calories and fat. So it is possible to enjoy a little sweet treat for fewer calories. Use the labeled information for nutrition and ingredient details to see which item is right for you.