Dr. Andrea Middleton - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Andrea Middleton

Are Sour Patch Kids Bad For You?



Short answer

Sour Patch Kids are bad for you, and much like other candy, contain no nutritional benefits and should be consumed in moderation, if not avoided entirely.



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Long answer

“Sour. Sweet. Gone.” is the slogan used by the M&A Candy company to describe the taste sensations of Sour Patch Kids candy. The ingredients found in this candy are sugar, invert sugar, corn starch, tartaric acid, corn syrup and citric acid. There is also a host of artificial colors and flavors.

To begin with, corn syrup or “high fructose corn syrup” (HFCS) has been linked to diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and many other diseases. It is added to many refined products as it is cheap to manufacture. Studies have found that HFCS contains high levels of mercury, a metal that can cause adverse reactions to your body’s organs, brain, and immune system when consumed regularly. Invert sugar is a combination of glucose and fructose which, funnily enough, are the two same ingredients that HFCS is made out of, however using a different process. So, other than Sour Patch Kids containing actual corn syrup which should be avoided at all costs, there is also a second ingredient which poses equally unfavourable health effects.

Cornstarch is commonly used as a thickener and is (not surprisingly) derived from corn. However, that does not mean it has any health benefits. Especially when it is listed on the back of a Sour Patch Kids’ candy packet as “modified corn starch”.

Other than not knowing if the corn has been genetically modified, corn starch is highly processed and full of carbohydrates and calories. A definite ingredient to avoid if you are looking at maintaining a healthy weight. Modified corn starch can also be a mask for MSG, a known ingredient that poses the risks of headaches, rashes, and nausea.

The multiple food colors and flavors added include “yellow 5” which is derived from coal tar - many studies of which have found arsenic and lead to be present in foods that contain this color. Furthermore, both artificial flavors and colors have been repeatedly linked to hyperactivity in children and an increased risk of cancer. 

Possible short-term side effects

  • blood sugar spike
  • nausea
  • hyperactivity (especially in children)

Possible long-term side effects

  • weight gain
  • diabetes
  • tooth decay
  • cancer
  • mercury, arsenic and lead buildup within the body

Ingredients to be aware of


  • short-term boost of energy

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

SmartSweets Sour Buddies

  • Only 3g sugar
  • Low calorie (100)
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • Plant-based candy
  • Gluten-free snack
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Healthy Living 35
Published on: 01-03-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Healthy Living 35
Published on: 01-03-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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