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Are Fruit Snacks Bad For You?



Short answer

Most popular fruit snacks are loaded with corn syrup, sugar, modified corn starch and toxic food dyes. Fruit snacks may contain some vitamins but eating a fresh piece of fruit from the produce section is a much better choice.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

Fruit snacks come in many varieties but most are loaded with added sugar, corn syrup and modified corn starch.  These snacks can elevate your glucose level and diabetics need to steer clear of them.  Added sugar, corn starch and corn syrup are problematic because they provide excess calories without providing any nutritional value. These empty calories can make you gain weight and can predispose to metabolic syndrome.  Metabolic syndrome is directly linked to intra-abdominal fat that can lead to type 2 diabetes, elevated blood lipids, high blood pressure and increased risk of cardiovascular events.  Before you purchase fruit snacks check the label for sugar content. The American Heart Association has recommended that women try to limit their added sugar intake to 24 grams daily and men 36 grams daily. Some of these fruit snack have sugar levels close to 20 grams per recommended serving.

Many of the fruit snacks contain gelatin which is used as a thickener and emulsifier.  This animal protein comes from pigs and cattle so this ingredient is not vegetarian.  Also look out for fruit snacks that contain artificial flavors.  These are not derived from a natural source and are made from various chemical compounds to mimic food flavors.

Another concern is that most fruit snacks use man made food dyes such as Red 40 and Yellow 5.  Red 40 is the most widely used dye and is linked with allergic reactions and can trigger hyperactive behavior in children.  Yellow 5 is also linked with allergic reactions and can trigger hyperactivity in children.  Yellow 5, Yellow 6 and Red 40 contain benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl that research has linked with cancer.  Avoiding these food dyes is a wise choice.

Some fruit snacks may have some nutritional value if they are actually made from real fruit.  But as you research the label on the back-no one needs those added sugars and toxic food dyes.  Stick with the produce section when you are craving a real fruit snack that has true nutritional value.

Possible short-term side effects

  • allergic reaction
  • hyperactive behavior
  • elevated glucose

Possible long-term side effects

  • weight gain
  • type 2 diabetes
  • metablic syndrome

Ingredients to be aware of

  • artificial flavors
  • added sugars, corn syrup, corn starch
  • man made food dyes
  • gelatin-animal protein


  • may have some vitamin value

Healthier alternatives

  • organic fresh fruit

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Organic Gummy Bears

  • USDA Organic Certified
  • Portable 0.8oz Pouches
  • Bulk Pack - 65 Count
  • Natural Flavors
  • Gluten-Free Treat
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

View Sources | Written by Dr. Becky Maes
Published on: 07-18-2018
Last updated: 12-01-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

View Sources
Written by Dr. Becky Maes
Published on: 07-18-2018
Last updated: 12-01-2023

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