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Is Hi-Chew Candy Bad For You?



Short answer

Consuming Hi-Chew candies in moderation is unlikely to cause immediate harm for most people. However, frequent intake can lead to dental issues due to high sugar content, potential behavioral implications linked to artificial colors, and blood sugar spikes due to a high glycemic index. Additionally, Hi-Chew contains gelatin, which is unsuitable for vegetarian, vegan, kosher, or halal diets. Considering healthier alternatives and occasional consumption can mitigate potential health risks.



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Long answer

Sugar Content and Oral Health Implications of Hi-Chew

When considering the consumption of Hi-Chew candy, one cannot overlook the sugar content and its implications for oral health. A single serving of Hi-Chew candy, which typically consists of a small individual package, contains a significant amount of sugar, ranging from 10 to 14 grams depending on the flavor and size of the candy. This concentrated sugar intake can have several adverse effects on oral health.

Firstly, it's essential to understand the mechanism by which sugar can affect the teeth and gums. When sugar is consumed, it interacts with the bacteria present in the oral cavity to produce acid. This acid has a demineralizing effect on the tooth enamel, which is the hard, outer surface of the teeth that protects against tooth decay. Frequent exposure to this acid can lead to the development of dental caries, commonly known as cavities.

Besides cavities, high sugar consumption can also contribute to the progression of periodontal disease, a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue and, if left untreated, can destroy the bone that supports the teeth. Periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss and has been linked to other chronic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.

Studies, such as those cited by the World Health Organization, recommend that the intake of sugars should be limited to less than 10% of the total energy intake to prevent chronic diseases, including oral health problems. In the scope of dental health, the American Dental Association consistently warns against frequent consumption of sugary treats and advises practicing good oral hygiene, particularly if one’s diet includes high levels of sugar.

To mitigate the harmful effects of sugar on oral health, consumers can take several proactive steps:

  • Maintaining a thorough oral hygiene routine, including brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing regularly.
  • Reducing the frequency of sugar intake, which limits the number of acid attacks on tooth enamel.
  • Opting for sugar-free alternatives when possible, as these do not contribute to tooth decay.
  • Drinking water after consuming sugary foods to help wash away sugar and neutralize acid levels in the mouth.
  • Visiting the dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings to maintain optimal oral health.

Overall, while Hi-Chew candy can be enjoyed as an occasional treat, being mindful of the amount and frequency of sugar consumption is key to preserving oral health. It is critical for individuals, especially those with pre-existing oral health concerns, to consider these factors and the potential impacts on their teeth and gums.

Artificial Flavors and Colors: Hidden Health Effects

Artificial flavors and colors are prevalent in many processed foods, including popular candies like Hi-Chew. While they make treats visually appealing and tasty, these synthetic additives can impact health in ways that consumers may not fully realize.

Firstly, it's important to acknowledge why these substances are used. Artificial flavors are chemicals designed to mimic natural flavors, often at a lower cost. Similarly, artificial colors give food a vibrant, consistent appearance that may not be achievable with natural alternatives.

Health Concerns

  • Allergies and Sensitivities: Some individuals may experience allergic reactions or sensitivities to artificial flavors or colors. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and include hives, itching, or respiratory problems.
  • Behavioral Effects: Research has suggested a possible link between artificial colors and behavioral issues in children. A meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry found a significant relationship between artificial food colors and increased ADHD symptoms in children with sensitivities.
  • Impact on Gut Health: Emerging studies indicate that artificial additives may negatively affect the gut microbiome, potentially leading to digestive problems and increased inflammation.

Controversial Additives

Specific artificial colors like Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, commonly found in candies, have been subject to scrutiny. Despite being approved by the FDA, these colors have been banned or restricted in other countries due to health concerns.

Limiting Exposure

While occasional consumption of products like Hi-Chew is not likely to cause severe health issues for most people, it is advisable to limit intake of artificial flavors and colors, especially for children or those with known sensitivities. Opting for candies made with natural flavors and colors can be a healthier choice. Healthcare professionals recommend reading labels carefully and choosing products with a simpler, more natural ingredient list when possible.

In conclusion, while artificial flavors and colors may not be significantly harmful in moderation, being mindful of their potential hidden health effects is important. Moderation, awareness, and educated choices can help maintain a healthy and balanced diet.


  1. Stevens, L. J., Kuczek, T., Burgess, J. R., Hurt, E., & Arnold, L. E. (2011). Dietary Sensitivities and ADHD Symptoms: Thirty-five Years of Research. Clinical Pediatrics, 50(4), 279–293.
  2. McCann, D., Barrett, A., Cooper, A., Crumpler, D., Dalen, L., Grimshaw, K., ... & Sonuga-Barke, E. (2007). Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. The Lancet, 370(9598), 1560-1567.
  3. Skypala, I. J., & Venter, C. (2019). Food Hypersensitivity: Diagnosing and Managing Food Allergies and Intolerance. Wiley-Blackwell.

The Role of Gelatin: Origins and Dietary Restrictions

Gelatin plays a pivotal role in the unique, chewy texture of Hi-Chew candies. This ingredient is derived from collagen, which is a protein found in animal connective tissues. The process of creating gelatin involves boiling animal bones, cartilage, and skin to extract the protein. The result is a tasteless, colorless substance that dissolves in warm water and gels when cooled, providing the characteristic consistency that many gummy and chewy candies are known for.

Understanding the origins of gelatin is crucial for various consumers who may have specific dietary preferences or restrictions. Here are some of the dietary considerations associated with gelatin consumption:

  • Vegetarian and Vegan Diets: Since gelatin is an animal-based product, it is not suitable for those following vegetarian or strictly plant-based vegan diets.
  • Kosher and Halal Diets: The source of the gelatin is essential for individuals observing Kosher and Halal dietary laws. Gelatin must be derived from permitted animals and processed in accordance with religious practices to be considered Kosher or Halal. Not all gelatin in candies meets these requirements, so it is necessary to check the packaging or with the manufacturer for certification.
  • Allergies and Sensitivities: Some individuals may have allergies or sensitivities to gelatin or the source from which it is derived. It is important to be vigilant about ingredients if one has a history of reactions to protein-based products.

People with dietary restrictions looking to enjoy similar textures in their confections might opt for gelatin-free alternatives. These alternatives can be made with plant-based gelling agents like pectin, agar-agar, or carrageenan, which are derived from fruits or seaweeds. While Hi-Chew candies traditionally contain gelatin, it is vital for consumers to examine the ingredients list for up-to-date information on the candy's composition, as manufacturers occasionally reformulate products to meet broader dietary preferences.

Moreover, ethical concerns about the use of animal products in foods have prompted many consumers to seek out vegetarian or vegan-friendly candies. Awareness of these dietary needs has increased the demand for transparency about food origins. Consumers are advised to research and choose candies that align with their ethical and dietary choices. When in doubt, contacting the manufacturer directly for clarity about ingredient sourcing is a proactive step toward informed consumption.

Hi-Chew and Glycemic Index: Impacts on Blood Sugar Levels

Understanding the glycemic index (GI) of food is essential for managing blood sugar levels, particularly for individuals with diabetes or those looking to maintain a balanced diet. The GI measures how quickly a carbohydrate-containing food can raise blood glucose levels. Foods with a high GI are rapidly digested and absorbed, causing a quick spike in blood sugar, while foods with a low GI are digested and absorbed at a slower rate, leading to a gradual rise in blood sugar.

Hi-Chew candy, like many other sugary sweets, is composed primarily of sugar and is thus expected to have a high glycemic index. This is due to the simple sugars used in their composition, which can be quickly broken down during digestion. While specific GI values can vary, products high in simple sugars, such as glucose and fructose syrups—which are commonly found in candies like Hi-Chew—generally fall into the high-GI category.

When consumed in moderation, Hi-Chew candies can be part of a balanced diet, but regular and excessive consumption can lead to rapid blood sugar spikes. These spikes can be problematic, especially for the following reasons:

  • Insulin Release: High-GI foods lead to an increased insulin demand as the body works to manage the sudden surge in glucose levels. Over time, this can contribute to insulin resistance, a key factor in the development of type 2 diabetes.
  • Blood Sugar Fluctuations: After the initial spike, blood sugar levels can drop rapidly, leading to a 'crash'. This cycle of highs and lows can affect energy levels, mood, and overall wellbeing.
  • Weight Gain: Consistent consumption of high-GI foods like Hi-Chew candy can contribute to weight gain. These foods are often low in fiber and satiety-inducing nutrients, making it easy to overconsume without feeling full.

Several studies highlight the importance of considering the glycemic index in dietary choices. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, high-GI diets are associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Moreover, a systematic review published in Diabetes Care suggests that low-GI diets can improve both glucose and lipid levels in individuals with diabetes.

In conclusion, while Hi-Chew candies are not inherently 'bad', their high glycemic index means they can significantly impact blood sugar levels. For individuals who need to monitor their glucose intake closely, such as those with diabetes or pre-diabetes, it is particularly important to limit the intake of high-GI foods like Hi-Chew. For the general population, enjoying these candies in moderation, while maintaining a diet rich in low-GI foods, can mitigate negative impacts on blood sugar levels.

Moderation and Healthier Snack Alternatives

Indulging in Hi-Chew candy occasionally can fit into a balanced diet, but moderation is key due to its high sugar content and lack of essential nutrients. Overconsumption of sugary treats like Hi-Chew has been associated with various adverse health effects, such as tooth decay, weight gain, and an increased risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. A single Hi-Chew stick contains about 10 grams of sugar, which is a significant portion of the American Heart Association's recommended daily sugar intake of no more than 37.5 grams for men and 25 grams for women.

For those seeking to satisfy their sweet tooth while considering their health, here are some healthier snack alternatives:

  • Fresh Fruit: Natural sugars found in fruits can curb sugar cravings, plus fruits provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Berries, apple slices, or a banana are excellent choices.
  • Dark Chocolate: In small amounts, dark chocolate with high cocoa content can be a healthier treat. It contains antioxidants and may impart health benefits when eaten in moderation.
  • Dried Fruit: A convenient, nutrient-rich alternative to candies, but be mindful of added sugars and portion sizes, as dried fruits are calorie-dense.
  • Nut Butters: Spread a tablespoon of almond or peanut butter on whole-grain toast for a satisfying combination of healthy fats, protein, and fiber.
  • Fruit Leather: Choose options with no added sugar for a chewy snack similar to candy but made primarily with fruit purees.
  • Homemade Popsicles: Blend up fruits with water or a splash of juice and freeze in popsicle molds for a DIY frozen treat.
  • Yogurt with Honey: A serving of Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey provides protein, calcium, and probiotics, making it a nutritious snack option.
  • Trail Mix: A mix of nuts, seeds, and a few dark chocolate chips can be both satiating and nutrient-rich, but watch the portion to keep calories in check.

When searching for snacks, it's beneficial to look for options that include dietary fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals to enhance satiety and provide nutritional benefit. The key is to find a balance between enjoying your favorite treats and maintaining a nutritious diet. Remember, it's the overall dietary pattern that most significantly affects health outcomes, not any one particular food. Accordingly, when enjoying candies like Hi-Chew, ensure they are just one small part of a varied and balanced diet.

While replacing candy with healthier alternatives, be mindful of how these substitutes fit into your personal nutritional needs. For example, individuals with fructose intolerance should be cautious with fruit-based snacks, while those with nut allergies must avoid nut-based treats. Consultation with a registered dietitian or nutritionist can help tailor snack choices to your specific health concerns and dietary preferences.

Lastly, it's worth noting that creating a too restrictive food environment can sometimes lead to increased cravings and a disordered relationship with food. Striking a balance where occasional treats are enjoyed without guilt is essential for long-term dietary adherence and psychological well-being.

Frequently asked questions

Traditional Hi-Chew candies contain gelatin, which is an animal-derived product, and therefore not suitable for vegetarians or some individuals with dietary restrictions. However, some manufacturers have started to create gelatin-free versions using plant-based gelling agents like pectin or agar-agar. Always check the ingredients list or inquire with the manufacturer to find specific products that meet your dietary requirements.

Long-term health effects of consuming artificial flavors and colors are still being investigated, but some studies have indicated potential risks such as hypersensitivity, behavioral issues, and gut microbiota alterations. Experts generally advise moderation in consuming these additives, especially in children and sensitive individuals, while more research develops to understand their full impact.

Hi-Chew candies are high in sugar and have a high glycemic index, which can contribute to weight gain if consumed in excess. Those managing their weight can still enjoy Hi-Chew in strict moderation, ensuring they are balanced with a diet rich in whole, nutrient-dense foods and maintaining an overall caloric intake that supports their weight management goals.

Individuals with blood sugar concerns, such as diabetes, should consume Hi-Chew sparingly due to its high sugar content and glycemic index. It's essential to enjoy these treats as part of a structured meal plan that includes monitoring blood sugar levels and possibly consulting with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized advice.

Ask a question about Hi-Chew Candy and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • increased acid production in mouth
  • increased risk of tooth decay
  • blood sugar spike
  • possible allergic reactions
  • behavioral changes in sensitive individuals

Possible long-term side effects

  • dental caries
  • periodontal disease
  • increased risk of chronic diseases
  • disruption of gut microbiome
  • weight gain
  • increased risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes

Ingredients to be aware of

Healthier alternatives

  • fresh fruit
  • dark chocolate
  • dried fruit
  • nut butters
  • fruit leather
  • homemade popsicles
  • greek yogurt with honey
  • trail mix

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Chimes Ginger Chews

  • Natural ginger flavor
  • Soothes the stomach
  • Convenient 2-lb bag
  • Original recipe
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 01-27-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 01-27-2024

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