Candy is meant to be a treat, but even when consumed in moderation some varieties push the wellness envelope. To have your sweets and stay healthy too, limit candy that's particularly high in sugar, unhealthy fats and artificial ingredients. Read on for 20 candies that can really spook your health.
1. Sour Patch Kids
Naturally colorful foods are highly nutritious, but Sour Patch Kids definitely don't grow on trees. The fruity flavors and colors aren't derived from actual fruit. Consisting mostly of sugar and corn syrup, these sweet and tart candies also contain artificial flavors and colors. The United States Food and Drug Administration maintains that artificial additives like Yellow 5 are safe, but the science is mixed, so some food companies are responding to consumer concern by removing these food dyes and turning to natural alternatives.
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2. Candy Corn
Enter another sticky, sugary, full-of-fake-ingredients treat. For many people, Halloween just isn't right without candy corn. From a dietary standpoint, though, they're more likely a trick than a treat. Even brands that list "real honey" as an ingredient contain 28 grams of sugar and several artificial colors in just one serving of 19 pieces. Because they're chewy, candy corn may also stick to your teeth, raising the risk for cavities.
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The downsides of Butterfingers can really linger. Each "fun size" bar provides 85 calories and four grams of fat. And you'll get 8.5 grams of sugar from the crunchy yet sticky center, which is also likely to get stuck in your teeth. Nestlé committed to removing all artificial colors and flavorings from their chocolate products by the end of 2015, and apparently they're not big on keeping promises. The bars contain a list of artificial ingredients, such as TBHQ and citric acid.
Don't let the "low fat" marketing fool you. What they lack in fat they make up for in sugar. Twizzlers consist almost entirely of sugar (along with some refined flour and artificial additives to keep things interesting). One piece provides five grams of sugar. But who eats just one? Since it's also a chewy treat, the sugar will likely stick where it's least welcome -- all over your teeth and gums.
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5. Hershey’s Take 5
If you haven't had enough artery-damaging trans fats by the end of Halloween night, look no further than Hershey's Take 5. Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, a major trans-fat source, falls in the top half of its lengthy ingredient list. Made mostly of sugar and refined flour (in the pretzels), one bar pack gives you 18 grams of sugar and a quarter of the Daily Value for inflammatory saturated fat. Like Nestle, Hershey's has committed to cleaning up their act. The company is working towards using non-GMO products in their Kisses and chocolate milk products. They're also removing artificial flavors, colors and high fructose corn syrup although their timeline is less definitive.
6. Baby Ruth
Don't be fooled by the healthy, protein-packed peanuts that cover this bar. Sugar is the number-one ingredient in these babies: Just one "fun size" bar has 10 grams. Baby Ruth is part of the Nestlé family, meaning that they should have dumped all artificial ingredients by now, right? Wrong. Baby Ruth bars still contain many of the same artificial chemicals they did two years ago.
7. Fun Dip
Fun Dip is only fun if your idea of a good time is a visit to the dentist and having blood sugar imbalances. The sweet stick and dip are almost 100 percent sugar. The rest is made up of artificial flavors and colors. One snack-size pouch supplies 13 grams of sugar. You might as well just dip your tongue directly into a bowl of the white stuff!
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These cute little guys are full of color: Blue 1 Lake, Yellow 6, Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1, Red 40 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake and Blue 2. Like many other chocolates on the market, they contain GMOs from sugar and soy and contain artificial flavors to boot.
Raisins are healthy. Add in sugar and coat with milk chocolate? Not so much. But you wouldn't know that from the packaging touting "30 percent less fat" (they still have five grams of saturated fat -- 23 percent of the Daily Value) and "natural source of fruit antioxidants." Looking for a treat to hand out this Halloween? Stick to little boxes of raisins instead.
10. 3 Musketeers
Another clever marketing ploy: 3 Musketeers are marketed as a "lighter" way to enjoy chocolate. Lighter than what? A single candy bar has five grams of saturated fat and more sugar than three Krispy Kreme doughnuts! Hydrogenated palm kernel oil and/or palm oil is listed as an ingredient -- more than 80 percent of the fat in palm kernel oil is saturated.
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With 17 grams of sugar (fun size), two is not always better than one. This duo also contains artificial flavors, corn syrup and soy lecithin. Twix (along with many other processed chocolates on the market) contain palm oil, which is blamed for climate change, deforestation and animal extinction. Orangutans are at the forefront of this disaster.
12. Milky Way
The amount of sugar in this candy bar is out of this world. While the "fun size" should help with portion control, a serving of these smaller bars still pack in 21 grams of sugar. They also contain hydrogenated palm kernel oil, which is bad for our hearts, the climate and orangutan survival. Plus, the caramel and nougat are prime candidates for sticking to your teeth and causing cavities.
13. Kit Kat Bar
Nothing to see here, folks. Palm kernel oil, sugar and soy lecithin are just a few of the offenders on this list. Each regular-size bar has seven grams of saturated fat and 21 grams of sugar. Don't break off a piece of this.
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They may suit gluten-free diets, but Starbursts aren't without risk. The ingredient that makes the fruity squares "unexplainably juicy" isn't as healthy as it sounds. The first three ingredients listed? Corn syrup, sugar and apple-juice concentrate -- also known as sugar, sugar and sugar. There are 22 grams of sugar in just nine pieces.
Coconut may be the single redeeming quality of these chocolate candies. The bar is essentially a mound of corn syrup and artificial flavors. Another plus is that it's lower in sugar compared with other typical candy bars (10 grams per bar), but what it lacks in sugar it makes up for in saturated fat, with 10 grams per bar (or 50 percent of the Daily Value)! Hershey's has promised to remove genetically products from their Kisses and chocolate milk products. They're also removing artificial flavors, colors and high fructose corn syrup over the next few years.
While they're cute and reminiscent of the Candy Land game and Willy Wonka's factory, these dots are primarily made up of corn syrup, sugar and artificial colors. Each "dot" has about two grams of sugar, and that can add up quickly.
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17. Reese’s Pieces
Don't let the peanut-buttery taste fool you into thinking these are in any way healthy. Sugar, hydrogenated palm kernel and soybean oil, corn syrup and dextrose are some of the first few ingredients listed. Artificial colors Yellow 5 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Red 40 Lake and so on round out the list. Just don't.
Sugar, corn syrup and hydrogenated palm kernel oil are the first three ingredients listed in these little malted balls. One serving (18 pieces) will whop you with 24 grams of sugar and seven grams of saturated fat.
When you "taste the rainbow" of Skittles, you're actually tasting sugar and some not-good-for-you fats. Skittles contain nine different artificial colors: Red 40 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, Blue 1 Lake, Yellow 6, Red 40, Yellow 5 and Blue 1.
Despite the advertising, Snickers probably shouldn't be your food of choice to "handle your hunger." They probably shouldn't even be your Halloween-handout choice. The "fun size" clocks in at 17 grams of sugar and also contains trans fats (partially hydrogenated soybean oil). You're better off leaving this bar behind.