It’s Halloween night. The goblins have been fed, the ghouls have been tricked and/or treated, and you’re feeling more like a good witch than a bad one. Now the house is finally quiet, and…wait. What’s that sound? It’s a tiny voice, squeaking out of your kids’ Halloween basket. The kids will never know! Or maybe it’s from inside the extra bag of sweets you bought in case there was a run on your house by zombies or cast members from Game of Thrones. Just a little cheat tonight—and maybe another cheat each night until all the candy’s gone. What’s the harm?
Halloween may be for kids, but the calorie consequences are for you and me. Consider these numbers: Three miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups fill your belly with more sugar than a glazed doughnut; half a pack of Skittles has more sugar than a scoop of Haagen-Dazs Cookies and Cream Ice Cream; nine Twizzlers carry as many calories as a Wendy’s Double Stack Burger.
That’s scary! And to find out exactly how scary. Read on to see which of your childhood favorites are a trick, and which are recommended treats. And learn which other foods to avoid—and which to enjoy.
When I was coming up with the ranking of the Worst Halloween Candies in America, I took a few factors into consideration: calorie count (anything with 70 calories or above scored low); fat count (some of these chocolates have more fat than a burger!); and ingredients (candies got points off for containing more artificial colors than others). Spooky!
Per 1 bar: 46 calories, 0.5 g fat, 6.3 g sugar
Here’s the basic formula for an Airhead: Sugar and filler carbohydrates, artificial colors and flavors, and partially hydrogenated oils—the source of trans fats. Just three mini-bars have more sugar and calories than half a cup of Edy’s slow-churned mint chocolate chip ice cream!
Hot Tamales Snack Size
Per Snack Size bag, 7 pieces: 49 calories, 0 g fat, 8.8 g sugar
We’re pleased to report Hot Tamales are sweetened with all-natural pear juice from concentrate…but sad to say there’s less than 0.5% of it. The two main ingredients here are sugar and corn syrup, with modified food starch forming the hard shell. Meanwhile, the red color comes from Red 40, which Canadian researchers found to be contaminated with known carcinogens. And don’t be seduced by it’s “fat-free” claim—nearly every candy is! By the way, sometimes, fat isn’t bad.
Now and Later Fun Size
Per 4 piece Fun Size serving: 53 calories, 0.5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 10 g sugar
Made with the same ingredients as most U.S. fruity candies—sugar, vegetable oil, and artificial colors—these childhood favorites should be saved for way, way later despite their low-calorie count. Why? Because it’s taffy, one of the worst foods for your teeth.
Mr. Goodbar Snack Size
Per 1 piece: 66 calories, 4.3 g fat (2 g saturated), 5.6 g sugar
The nutritional above are for just one bar. Triple them—per the serving size—and you’ll have more fat than a McDonald’s Hamburger with three little bites!
Per 3 pieces: 70 calories, 0 g fat, 11 g sugar
“Keep on Sucking.” Has there ever been a more appropriate tagline for a candy? These are just corn syrup and sugar, compacted with a bit of malic acid for tang. At least they take a while to suck, which will keep your kids away from the chocolates.
Milky Way Original Minis
Per two pieces: 72 calories, 2.8 g fat (1.6 g saturated fat), 9.6 g sugar
When aliens visit this Milky Way, they’ll be horrified to see it’s made of sugar, corn syrup, and sugar mixed with milk fat, vegetable fat (in the form of hydrogenated palm kernel oil) and artificial flavors.
Almond Joy Snack Size
Per one Snack Size bar: 80 calories, 4.5 g fat (3 g saturated), 8 g sugar
Like soda, most mainstream candy bars are a combo of the same ingredients: corn syrup, milk chocolate, sugar, vegetable oils, sometimes nuts. Almond Joy and Mounds break the trend by adding coconut, which ups the fat content, big time.
Mounds Snack Size
Per one Snack Size bar: 80 calories, 4.5 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 7 g sugar
Like its sister Almond Joy, the Mounds has a high fat count thanks partly to the coconut—but with no almonds, you get more saturated fat, making it even worse.
Werther’s Original Chewy Caramels
Per 3 pieces: 85 calories, 3 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 7 g sugar
Made with glucose syrup (derived from wheat or corn), sugar and milk—as well as a sugary humectant, a molecule to keep them moist—these candies aren’t the sweetest on the market. But they score low because you can down about 10 of these in the time it takes you to get through one Werther’s Hard Candy.
Dove Chocolate Mini Squares
Per two pieces: 88 calories, 5.6 g fat (3.2 saturated), 7.2 g sugar
Don’t be fooled by the marketing: Despite being touted as the “silky, smooth” alternative to other candies, this is a Mars product, just like M and Ms and Snickers. Filled with milkfat, the result is one of the fattiest candies on this list.
To easily burn off any of these candies—without spending hours in the gym.
Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins Snack Size
Per piece: 90 calories, 5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 8 g sugar
This one should send your gimmick radar into the red zone. If it were flavored with pumpkin puree that would be one thing, but it’s not. It’s an oversized peanut butter cup shaped in a pumpkin-like mold.
Swedish Fish Treatsize
Per 9 pieces: 70 calories, 0 g fat, 14 g sugar
The next five entries have fewer calories than those before them but nearly double the sugar counts. That’s because they’re all made with at least two kinds of sugar. These foul fishies add carnauba wax, which is safe to eat but also used to polish cars.
Per one pop: 70 calories, 0 g fat, 13 g sugar
Grind down a bowl and a half of Fruity Pebbles and rub it on your teeth for 10 minutes—then chew a piece of sugar-filled gum until the flavor runs out. These blow—but at least it takes a while to eat, which means you won’t have two.
Brach’s Candy Corn
Per 9 pieces: 70 calories, 0 g fat, 14 g sugar
This seasonal favorite is proudly “made with real honey”—an ingredient that’s unfortunately wedged right between four other types of sugar (sugar, corn syrup, confectioner’s glaze, and dextrose), gelatin (made from horse hooves), sesame oil (fattening) and artificial flavors and colors.
Skittles Fun Size
Per Fun Size Pack, about 8 pieces: 85 calories, 0.9 g fat (0.9 g saturated), 16 g sugar
Repeat after us: If it’s your waist you want to whittle, keep your fingers off the Skittles. Sugar, corn syrup and food dye—that’s all you’re getting from a package. If you don’t give your kids Fanta, don’t give them these.
Sour Patch Kids Treat Size Packs
Per Treat Size Pack, about 8 pieces: 75 calories, 0 g fat, 13 g sugar
These little guys leave a sour taste in your mouth because of the citric and tartaric acids that coat them. They leave a sour taste in our mouth because the first three ingredients are sugar, sugar, and sugar—more sugar than a Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnut! For decadent fat-burners.
Milk Maid Caramels
Per two pieces: 75 calories, 2 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 7.5 g sugar
Doesn’t Milk “Maid” sounds a lot like Milk “Made”? But rest assured—they’re not the same. This candy contains a couple milk derivatives (whey and “lipolyzed butter fat”), but it hardly constitutes a dairy product. Plus, 90 percent of the fat is saturated. That’s bad news for your heart.
Andes Creme De Menthe Thins
Per 3 pieces: 75 calories, 4.9 g fat (4.1 g saturated), 8.2 g sugar
This is one of the worst candies in the supermarket. The first two ingredients are sugar and partially hydrogenated oil, and you’re getting as much saturated fat as you’ll find in a handful of french fries!
Heath Toffee Bar Snack Size
Per Snack Size bar: 77 calories, 4.6 g fat (2.3 g saturated), 8.7 g sugar
One of the more natural brands on the market—that richness you taste is pure dairy butter—is also one of the fattiest. In fact, each Snack Size bar as more fat than a McDonald’s Chicken Nugget…and zero protein!
Twix Caramel Cookie Fun Size
Per one piece: 80 calories, 4 g fat (2 g saturated), 8 g sugar
Switch to Tootsie Rolls and you’ll cut your calories by more than half and trim your total fat intake by a whopping 79 percent. (Better yet, treat yourself to some quality dark chocolate.)
Snickers Fun Size
Per Fun Size bar: 80 calories, 4 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 8.5 g sugar
Snickers is an American classic in the worst sense: It’s made from cheap “chocolate” (artificially flavored), corn syrup and sugars and fatty oils, just like so many brands in kids’ Halloween bags. Sure, it has heart-healthy peanuts and a hilarious marketing campaign, but the only one left snickering is Mars, for selling them to you.
Baby Ruth Fun Size
Per Fun Size Bar: 83 calories, 4 g fat (2 g saturated), 10 g sugar
Together, saturated fat and sugar account for more than half of the calories in this baby.
Junior Mints Snack Size
Per single Snack Size box: 76.5 calories, 1.35 g fat (1.13 g saturated), 14.4 g sugar
Junior Mints are hard to resist because they’re poppable—just ask Jerry and Kramer. What you’re popping, though, is an alarming amount of calories and sugar for such a tiny treat—as much sugar as in three Chips Ahoy! Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Twizzlers Individually Wrapped Twists
Per 2 single pieces: 80 calories, 0.2 g fat, 9.5 g sugar
These candy straws are an Atkins nightmare: They’re made with white flour, sugar, and cornstarch, but sold as a “low-fat” food. Twisted.
Starburst Original Fruit Chews Fun Size
Per Fun Size serving, 4 pieces: 80 calories, 1.25 g fat (1.15 g saturated), 11.5 g sugar
The firmness of the chew owes to the third ingredient (after corn syrup and sugar): Hydrogenated palm kernel oil, a greasy substance that adds to the fat count. But the sugar alone will do you in—Starburst has more than any other candy on this list.
Mike & Ike Snack Packs
Per Snack Pack: 80 calories, 0 g fat, 14 g sugar
Tell Mike and Ike to take a hike. The high-flavor Jelly Belly beans pack a much lower sugar punch, and these have more sugar than half a cup of Turkey Hill light recipe Moose Tracks.
M&Ms Peanut Fun Size
Per one Fun Size package: 90 calories, 5 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 9 g sugar
Wait a minute, you might be saying—aren’t peanuts good for me? Not when they’re wearing a spooky costume of fat and sugar. You can satisfy your desire for chocolately crunch, and save sugar, fat, and calories, with the pretzel version. The salty-sweet combo will also make them more satisfying.
Nestle 100 Grand Fun Size
95 calories, 4 g fat (1 g saturated), 11 g sugar
You’d go broke trying to figure out how to eat these and stay slim. Each tiny bar has as much sugar as a bowl of Frosted Flakes.
Milk Chocolate M&Ms
Per one Fun Size package: 95 calories, 3.5 g fat (2.25 saturated fat), 13 g sugar
M&M’s pack in a lot of sugar even by candy-bar standards. This little bag packs in more sweetness than a Little Debbie Chocolate Marshmallow Pie!
Butterfinger Fun Size
Per single Fun Size bar: 100 calories, 4 g fat (2 g saturated), 10 g sugar
Many candy bars are high in sugar. Many are high in fat. But Butterfinger has the magical ability to be high in both. Adding even one “fun size” Butterfinger to your food intake every day is enough to add more than 10 pounds to your body in the next year. There’s nothing fun about that. Nobody better lay a finger on this Butterfinger.
Hershey’s Take 5 Snack Size
Per Snack Size bar: 100 calories, 5 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 9 g sugar
Were it made naturally, we’d be fans of this five-layer bar, which combines chocolate, pretzels, peanut butter, caramel, and peanuts. Unfortunately, it’s more like a Take 35, with other ingredients including High Fructose Corn Syrup, fattening vegetable oils, artificial flavors, and the binding agent carrageenan, made from seaweed. This is one of the fattiest candy bars in the world.
And the #1 Worst Halloween Candy Is… Reese’s Miniatures
Per 3 pieces: 108 calories, 6.4 g fat (2.2 g saturated fat), 9.9 g sugar
The American Heart Association says an adult woman should have no more than 25 grams of added sugar a day. Reese’s manages to pack half that much (17 grams) into 9—aka one serving—of these miniatures, and with a ton of fat. Maybe they should be called “maxiatures?” Meet the Worst Halloween Candy out there.
It’s Halloween and it’s the one time of the year where kids can be kids and enjoy some candy but it doesn’t mean it has to be so totally unhealthy. Obesity in children is serious. Keep an eye out for my list of some of the best Halloween candies. That list offers some “healthier” options. And like always if you have any questions about today’s post or any past post please don’t hesitate in reaching out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. All of my links where you can reach me are under (Where You Can Follow Me).
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