Reese’s or Justin’s… m&m’s or Unreal… the original or “healthy” brand… which one is really better for you? When it comes to candy what you think might be the healthier treat could be a trick. We consulted with our go-to nutrition and wellness expert Sarah Wragge to find out which is really the healthier version of the most popular candy and chocolate bars this Halloween.
PEANUT BUTTER CUPS (2 per serving)
If you stick with the Organic Dark, Sarah says that Reese’s is actually better on the ingredient list than Justin’s. While they have relatively similar ingredients, the soy lecithin in Justin’s, even though it is organic, is an ingredient you might want to avoid. Soy is a common allergen for many people. Lecithin is a food additive generally used as an emulsifier or lubricant, the processing of which involves chemical solvents.
Reese’s Organic Dar
Calories 230; Fat 15g; Carbs 20g; Sugars 15g; Protein 3g
Organic Semi-Sweet Chocolate (Organic Chocolate, Organic Sugar, Organic Cocoa* Butter, Organic Vanilla Extract, Organic Milk), Organic Peanuts, Organic Sugar, Organic Cocoa* Butter, Organic Dextrose, Sea Salt, Organic Rosemary Extract
Justin’s Organic Dark Chocolate
Calories 220; Fat 14g; Carbs 20g; Sugars 16g; Protein 4g
Organic Dark Chocolate (Organic Evaporated Cane Sugar, Organic Cacao Beans*, Organic Cocoa Butter*, Organic Soya Lecithin, Organic Peanut Butter , Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Peanut Flour, Organic Palm Oil, Sea Salt, Organic Sunflower Lecithin
CHOCOLATE COVERED PEANUTS
Here the health food store variation wins. “Unreal peanut candies are clean except for gums, but what do you expect?”, says Sarah. “It’s still candy and a treat.” As opposed to the chemical food dyes in m&ms, Unreal uses natural ingredients to give their peanut gems their colorful candy shells.
Peanut M&Ms (12 pieces)
Calories 140; Fat 8g; Carbs 17g; Sugars 14g; Protein 3g
Milk Chocolate (Sugar, Chocolate, Skim Milk, Cocoa Butter, Lactose, Milkfat, Peanuts, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Natural Flavor), Peanuts, Sugar, Cornstarch; Less Than 1%: Palm Oil, Corn Syrup, Dextrin, Colors (Blue 2 Lake, Blue 1 Lake, Red 40, Yellow 6 Lake, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 2, Red 40 Lake), Carnauba Wax, Gum Acacia
Unreal Dark Chocolate Peanut Gems (16 pieces)
Calories 170; Fat 11g; Carbs 17g; Sugars 13g; Protein 4g
Dark Chocolate* (Organic Chocolate Liquor*, Organic Cane Sugar*, Organic Cocoa Butter*, Organic Vanilla*), Roasted Peanuts (Peanuts, Peanut Oil), Organic Cane Sugar*, Colored With (Beet Juice, Carrot Juice, Hibiscus Juice, Annatto Extract, Turmeric Extract, Red Cabbage Juice), Tapioca Syrup, Sugar, Gum Acacia, Carnauba Wax, Vanilla Extract
Swedish Fish and other gummy candies are basically just sugar with no fat or fiber to slow down the absorption into the blood stream. Hello sugar rush! Smart Sweets are the better option, with just 3g of sugar in 10 fish, as compared with 22g of sugar in the original, which also has twice as many fish per serving. However, that doesn’t mean you should eat that many. “Smart Sweets Fish have weird fiber and sugars that might cause stomach distress”, says Sarah. They are sweetened with allulose, a form of sugar that is not metabolized and has no effect on blood sugar, and also contain Isomalto-Oligosaccharides which act like fiber to reduce net carbs.
Original Swedish Fish (5 pieces)
Calories 110; Fat 0g; Carbs 27g; Sugars 22g; Protein 0g
Sugar, Invert Sugar, Corn Syrup, Modified Corn Starch, Citric Acid, White Mineral Oil, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Red 40, Carnauba Wax
Smart Sweets Sweet Fish (10 pieces)
Calories 100; Fat 0g; Carbs 42g (net carbs 18g); Sugars 3g; Protein 0g
Non-GMO soluble corn fiber, Allulose (non-artificial sweetener), Isomalto-Oligosaccharides, Modified Potato Starch, Natural Berry Flavor, Malic Acid, Citric Acid, Fruit And Vegetable Juice, Coconut Oil, Carnauba Wax, Monk Fruit Extract.
CHOCOLATE PEANUT CARAMEL CANDY BAR
“You are better off eating the Snickers”, says Sarah. “Quest is awful — whey protein, fake sugars, palm oils, and carragenan which is linked to cancer.” Keep in mind we’re talking the fun size, but go ahead and snag one out of your kid’s trick or treat bag if you’re craving a candy bar.
Snickers Fun Size (1)
Calories 80; Fat 4g; Carbs 10g; Sugars 9g; Protein 1g
Milk Chocolate (Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Chocolate, Skim Milk, Lactose, Milkfat, Soy Lecithin), Peanuts, Corn Syrup, Sugar, Palm Oil, Skim Milk, Lactose, Salt, Egg Whites, Artificial Flavor
Quest Gooey Caramel with Peanuts Candy Bites (1)
Calories 80; Fat 6g; Carbs 8g; Sugars <1g; Protein 5g
Peanuts, Protein Blend (Whey Protein Isolate, Milk Protein Isolate), Palm Kernel Oil, Polydextrose, Soluble Corn Fiber, Erythritol, Water, Allulose, Sodium Caseinate, Cocoa processed with Alkali, Glycerin. Contains less than 2% of the following: Palm Oil, Butter (Cream), Sea Salt, Sunflower Lecithin, Natural Flavors, Carrageenan, Sucralose
Like Swedish Fish, Gummy Bears are basically just sugar with some chemical food dyes added for color. Lily’s are sweetened with Stevia, a plant extract, and use fruits and vegetables for color. You get 25 Gummy Bears in a small 1 serving pack, all with less than 1 gram of sugar and 5 grams of protein.
Haribo Goldbears (13 pieces)
Calories 100; Fat 0g; Carbs 23g; Sugars 14g; Protein 2g
Glucose Syrup (from Wheat or Corn), Sugar, Gelatin, Dextrose (from Wheat or Corn), Citric Acid, Corn Starch, Artificial and Natural Flavors, Palm Kernel Oil, Carnauba Wax, White Bees Wax, Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 1.
Lily’s Gummy Bears (25 pieces)
Calories 70; Fat 0g; Carbs 42g (net carbs 3g); Sugars <1g; Protein 5g
Soluble Corn Fiber, Allulose, Pectin, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Natural Flavors, Palm Oil, Coconut Oil, Color Added (Apple, Blackcurrant, Carrot, Lemon, Pumpkin, Radish, Saffron Concentrates), Carnauba Wax, Stevia Extract.
MORE NUTRITION & WELLNESS STORIES:
What All Those Food Labels Really Mean
Have Your Carbs & Eat Them Too