Here’s What Dietitians Really Think About ‘Healthy Candy’v | Well + Well

IIn a world where people are increasingly interested in living greener, leaner lives, it’s no wonder that healthier alternatives to traditionally nutrient-deficient (read: unhealthy) foods have become so important. There used to be alternatives to milk and pastas, gluten-free breads and desserts, and now healthy candies are on the rise. If you think it sounds like an oxymoron, you are not alone. That’s why we decided it was time to dig deeper with the help of healthy eating experts. Go ahead, learn everything there is to know about healthy candy.

What makes candy healthy Healthy?

So-called health candy brands, such as Skinny Dipped, Hu Kitchen, Justin’s, and Unreal, have become popular with celebrities, influencers, and ordinary people looking to make “smarter” food choices.

“Healthy candy brands, such as SmartSweets, typically have no added sugar, are colored with natural plant extracts, and have additional fiber,” says women’s health expert and registered dietitian Cory Ruth, MS, RDN. “These qualities make them an ideal choice for those who are conscious of calories, blood sugar and artificial ingredients.”

Registered dietitian Jennifer Maeng, MS, RD, CDN, of Chelsea Nutrition, adheres to this idea, noting that by using added fiber and sugar alternatives, healthy candy brands are renowned for being low in carbohydrates, thereby reducing spikes. of sugar in the body. “But that doesn’t necessarily make the product healthy,” she says. Some healthful candies (not the ones mentioned above) should be avoided.

The spills of some health candy brands

Many health candy brands don’t taste the same as the original candy they’re mimicking. While healthy candies are considered tasty by some consumers, not everyone sees them as a real alternative to their favorite candies. As such, eating it often isn’t as satisfying as indulging in a portion-controlled snack of the real thing. And for this reason, some people tend to overeat healthy candy (and other healthy alternatives, such as low-calorie ice cream) in an effort to feel full.

The problem is that this can lead to some pretty unpleasant gastrointestinal problems. “Sugar alcohols, which are important in some healthier alternatives, have a lower impact on blood sugar than refined sugars and are generally safe, but when consumed frequently or in large quantities they can cause gas, bloating and even cramps,” Maeng says. .

What to look for in healthy candies

One way to avoid the symptoms mentioned above is to monitor how many healthy candies you eat, another is to pay attention to the ingredients in your morsels.

“Some may want to avoid sugar alcohols, which can cause gas, bloating and diarrhea, for the sake of their digestion,” says Ruth. “Artificial colors and flavoring agents are also not ideal ingredients when loaded into something we are ingesting and absorbing.”

Additionally, Maeng recommends looking for healthy candies sweetened with fruits and vegetables and those low in real sugar.

The Candy Cravings Debate

It doesn’t matter what kind of candy you’re eating, healthy or not, Ruth says it’s totally safe to incorporate them into your daily diet. “The key is to keep portions moderate and the rest of the day balanced, in terms of carbohydrates and sugar consumption,” she says.

With that in mind, according to Ruth and Maeng, when it comes to candy, the real thing in small quantities is better than a healthy alternative. “I like to recommend that you eat what you really want to eat in moderation,” says Maeng. “You will be much more satisfied by eating exactly what you are looking for than trying to find alternatives that are not as satisfying, because you will end up looking for more food or another food option to satisfy your cravings.”

While it’s fine to eat candy every day in moderation, if you want to every day, you may be interested in finding out why. “Instead of looking for healthier candy to have every day, it’s important to think about why you crave sweets every day,” says Maeng. “A review published in British Journal of Sports Medicine claimed that refined sugar has a similar effect on the brain to illegal drugs like cocaine. Which means that if you’re eating a large amount of sweets, it should be treated with caution when trying to cut back on it. “

Diet culture and frequent new healthy alternatives may make you feel like you can’t eat candy or other delicious foods. You can.

“Sugar free, ‘healthy’ or normal, anyone can add a few candy here and there and not completely derail their health,” says Ruth. “Remember, it’s what you do most of the time that makes the biggest difference in your health.”

Do you want more proof? “Restricting access to palatable foods, whether self-imposed or through parental control, can have potentially negative consequences,” according to a 2015 article published in the international review journal of Advances in Nutrition. So, do yourself a favor and eat the candy.

Here’s how to make chocolate peanut butter bonbons:

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