The Diet Detective: The Breakdown of Halloween Candy

It's Halloween, and that means one thing—candy. Most of us are worried about the calories, but maybe you should really be thinking about what you're consuming ingredients-wise.


Calories: 25 per roll

Burn It: 8.5 minutes trick-or-treating

Ingredients: Dextrose, citric acid, calcium stearate, natural and artificial flavors, colors (Red 40 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Blue 2 Lake).

What You Need to Know:

Red 40 Lake: Was given a "caution" by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). They say the dye is among the most tested, and that tests are still inconclusive. However, it can cause allergy-like reactions.

Yellow 5 Lake
: According to CSPI's Chemical Cuisine (, this can "cause allergy-like hypersensitivity reactions, primarily in aspirin-sensitive persons, and triggers hyperactivity in some children. It may be contaminated with such cancer-causing substances as benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl."

Yellow 6 Lake: According to CSPI's Chemical Cuisine, "Industry-sponsored animal tests indicated that this dye?causes tumors of the adrenal gland and kidney."

Blue 2 Lake: According to CSPI's Chemical Cuisine, animal studies found some (not conclusive) evidence that it causes brain cancer in male rats. FDA says no harm though.

Note on Food Dyes: Some research suggests food dyes (or Lakes, which are non-water-soluble dyes) are linked to behavioral issues in children. In fact, the FDA is considering whether to ban certain food dyes.
Calcium Stearate: Used to make lubricants and cosmetics. It's not soluble in water and has been compared to the foam that is made when soap mixes with water. According to CSPI, it's not harmful.

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Snickers Miniatures

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Calories: 42.5 per piece

Burn It: 14.5 minutes trick-or-treating

: Milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, skim milk, lactose, milkfat, soy lecithin, artificial flavor), peanuts, corn syrup, sugar, milkfat, skim milk, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, lactose, salt, egg whites, chocolate, artificial flavor. May contain almonds.

What You Need to Know:

Skim Milk: It's the lowest in fat and has calcium, good for the bones.     

Sugar: Too much sugar is not a good thing.

Corn Syrup: Liquid sugar. Corn syrup has no nutritional value.

Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil: Creates trans-fat, which increases heart disease.

Peanuts: A great source of protein. One of the nice ingredients in Snickers, as long as your child isn't allergic to peanuts.

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