Lollipops are mostly sugar and thus not very good for you. Some are worse than others, however - avoid artificial flavors.
Lollipops are mostly sugar. Sugar isn't much good for you. It feeds bacteria which rot your teeth. It spikes your blood sugar, which over time can increase your risk of metabolic disorder, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Some sugars are broken down in the liver, where they're stored as fat - some of which contributes to the clogging of your arteries.
Lollipops are worse than some sugary snacks, however, because of how they're eaten. You hold lollipops in your mouth while you suck on them; unlike sugary candies which are chewed and swallowed, they're slowly dissolved by the force of your saliva. The bacteria in your mouth that feed on sugars are thus stimulated for much longer by a lollipop than they would be by a piece of cake - they feed continuously while you're sucking, for ten or twenty minutes, and then continue to feed on leftover sugars for about twenty minutes afterward. All the while, these bacteria excrete acids, lowering the pH of your mouth and wearing away at the enamel of your teeth. Eat enough lollipops, and you'll significantly increase your risk of cavities, gum disease, and other oral health problems.
Sour lollipops do damage faster than those that are sweet. That's because they're more acidic. Get low enough on the pH scale - some warheads lollipops, for example, reach down to a pH of about two - and you've reached a level of acidity that's on par with battery acid. That doesn't mean that all of your teeth are going to fall out at once if you suck on a warhead lollipop. What it does mean, however, is that the damage that's done to your teeth and gums is multiplied and that you should be even more sparing with sour candies than you are with the sweeter stuff.
What about the so-called lollipop diet - built around sucking on low-calorie lollipops with alleged appetite suppressants like hoodia? There's good evidence that low-level ingestion of sugar throughout the day will indeed trick your body into feeling fuller than it actually is. There's not nearly as much evidence, however, that chemicals like hoodia do much chemically to suppress your appetite. If you're looking to diet, there are better ways to improve your eating habits than sucking on lollipops.
Finally, some lollipops are colored with controversial artificial coloring agents. They're approved for use by the FDA and the European Food Safety Commission, for now. There's a good body of evidence that they may be linked to a host of health problems - including hyperactivity, developmental disorders, problems with the thyroid, and various cancers. You can read about the risks here. Until you have, however, it might be a good idea to avoid lollipops which are colored with them.
Possible short-term side effects
- gastric irritation
- spike in blood sugar
- allergic reaction
Possible long-term side effects
- metabolic disorder
- heart disease
- weight gain
- gum disease
Ingredients to be aware of
- short-term boost of energy
- power pops may help with weight loss