Dr. Thomas Dwan - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Thomas Dwan

Are Refreshers Bad For You?

Also Known As: Refreshers Candy



Short answer

Refreshers candy, with its high sugar and acid content, poses dental health risks such as cavities and enamel erosion, also contributing to obesity when consumed in excess. The presence of artificial colors may affect children's behavior and cause allergic reactions in some people. While occasional consumption might not be harmful, moderation is advised due to the potential negative impacts on health from sugars, acids, and additives. Healthier snack alternatives are recommended to satisfy sweet cravings with fewer health risks.



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Long answer

Sugar Content and Impact on Dental Health

When assessing the impact of any candy on dental health, the sugar content is a critical factor to consider. Refreshers, like many candies, are primarily composed of sugars — these can be a source of instant energy but come with potential downsides, particularly for oral health. The main concern arises from the metabolic activities of oral bacteria that thrive in the sugary environments provided by such confections.

To understand the relationship between sugar intake from candies like Refreshers and dental health, let’s delve into what research says.

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), reducing the intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake decreases the risk of dental caries.
  • A study published in the Journal of Dental Research suggests that sugar consumption significantly affects the incidence of cavities, with the frequency of sugar intake posing a more considerable risk than the total amount consumed.
  • The cavities are caused by acid-producing bacteria that metabolize sugar from foods, leading to a demineralization of the enamel.

With these risks in mind, it's important to consider the serving size of Refreshers and the frequency with which they are consumed. Eating candy in moderation, combined with proper dental hygiene practices like regular brushing and flossing, may mitigate some of the risks associated with sugar content in candy.

Inspecting the nutritional information reveals the specific sugar content per serving, which typically ranges in the double digits for grams of sugar. This is significant, considering the American Heart Association's guidelines suggest a limit of 24 grams of added sugar per day for women and 36 grams for men. A single serving of Refreshers can, therefore, edge you further towards, or even exceed, your daily recommended sugar intake.

Moreover, candies like Refreshers often contain acidic substances alongside sugars, as these contribute to the characteristic fizzing sensation when consumed. However, the acidity can exacerbate dental erosion, compounding the damage caused by sugars. Particularly when consumed in between meals, these candies can reduce the mouth's pH balance, extending the time teeth are exposed to acids and increasing the risk of enamel erosion and cavities.

The “sticky” nature of some candy types can also play a role. If Refreshers are chewy or sticky, this extends the amount of time that sugar is in contact with teeth, which in turn, extends the time bacteria have to feed on the sugar, producing harmful acids in the process.

To preserve dental health while enjoying such sweets as Refreshers, consider the following tips:

  • Maintain a comprehensive oral hygiene routine that includes brushing at least twice daily, flossing, and using mouthwash.
  • Limit candy consumption to moments immediately following a meal since increased saliva production helps neutralize acids and clear food particles.
  • Drink water after consuming candies to help wash away sugar and acids, and to promote a neutral oral pH.
  • Be aware of serving sizes and attempt to consume these treats in moderation.
  • Visit a dentist regularly for check-ups and professional cleanings.

While enjoying Refreshers once in a while is a pleasurable treat, being mindful of the sugar content and its potential impact on dental health is important for maintaining oral well-being.

Artificial Colors and Additive Concerns in Refreshers

When examining the impact of Refreshers candy on health, a critical component to consider is the presence of artificial colors and additives. These are common in many candies and can have varying effects on health. It is essential to understand what these substances are and how they might affect our bodies.

List of Common Additives in Refreshers:

Potential Health Concerns:

  • Hyperactivity in Children: Studies have suggested that certain artificial colors may contribute to hyperactivity and attention deficits in children. For example, a study published in Lancet indicated a possible link between the consumption of additives and increased hyperactivity in children.
  • Allergic Reactions: Some individuals may experience allergic reactions or sensitivities to certain food dyes, such as tartrazine. Reactions can range from mild to severe.
  • Long-Term Health Effects: There is ongoing debate about the potential long-term health effects of artificial colors. Though the FDA regulates these additives, there's a call for more comprehensive research on chronic exposure effects.

Regulatory Stance:

Agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approve the use of artificial colors in food, stating that they are "safe when used in accordance with FDA regulations." However, it is important to acknowledge the differences in regulatory practices across the globe. For instance, the European Union requires foods containing certain dyes to have warning labels, signaling more cautionary regulatory perspectives.

Consumer Considerations:

  • Behavioral Impact: For parents, particularly those with children sensitive to additives, avoiding artificial colors may be beneficial in managing behavioral symptoms.
  • Dietary Restrictions: Individuals with dietary restrictions or sensitivities should carefully read labels to avoid adverse reactions to food additives.
  • Seeking Alternatives: Those concerned about artificial additives might opt for candies that use natural colorants derived from fruits, vegetables, or spices.

While individual responses to these substances can vary greatly, it's crucial to be informed and vigilant about the ingredients in the foods we consume. Moderation is key, and seeking out a balanced diet with minimal artificial additives is a prudent approach to maintaining good health.

The Link Between High-Sugar Treats and Obesity

Indulging in high-sugar treats like Refreshers Candy certainly brings back nostalgic memories for many, but it's important to understand the health ramifications such sweets may have. Sugar has been conclusively linked to obesity—a growing concern in today's health landscape. To understand this connection, it's crucial to examine why sugar in these treats can contribute to excessive weight gain.

Sugar Content: Candies like Refreshers are loaded with sugars, such as glucose and fructose, which can lead to a spike in calorie intake. Excessive calories from sugar can be significantly more detrimental than calories from other nutrients because of the way sugar is metabolized in the body.

Caloric Density: Sugars are incredibly energy-dense, meaning a small volume of candy can have a large number of calories. This attribute can lead to overconsumption as it's easy to eat several candies without feeling full, despite consuming a high number of calories.

Insulin Response: High sugar intake prompts the body to release insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. Frequent insulin spikes may lead to insulin resistance, a condition associated with obesity. A study in BMJ Open (2018) suggested that high sugar consumption can disrupt this balance, leading to increased fat storage and weight gain.

Inactivity and Sugar Cravings: Habitual consumption of sugary treats has been linked to decreased satiety, increased appetite, and even fluctuations in energy levels that could diminish one’s propensity for physical activity. A sedentary lifestyle, combined with high sugar intake, exacerbates the risk of obesity.

Sugar Addiction: Studies have suggested that sugar can be addictive, leading to a cycle of cravings and binge eating. The addictive properties of sugar can make it challenging to moderate candy consumption, with a research review in PLOS ONE (2017) indicating that this addiction could have neurobiological similarities to substance abuse.

Longitudinal Studies: Long-term studies have shown a positive correlation between the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and snacks, and the prevalence of obesity. For instance, a study by The New England Journal of Medicine (2011) found that an increased intake of such high-sugar products is associated with long-term weight gain.

Understanding the multifaceted ways in which high-sugar treats like Refreshers Candy influence obesity is essential. Increased awareness and moderation of these kinds of foods are critical steps in maintaining a healthier lifestyle and preventing obesity. Recognizing the heavy toll that sugar can take on one's overall health underlines the importance of informed dietary choices.

Acid and Enamel Erosion Risks from Sour Candy

Sour candies, such as Refreshers, are known for their tart, tangy flavor, which is often the result of high levels of acidic components used in their manufacturing. It is this acidity that poses potential dental health risks, particularly to the enamel — the hard, protective outer layer of our teeth.

The pH scale, which measures how acidic or basic a substance is, ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Enamel begins to demineralize and break down at a pH of 5.5 or lower. Laboratory tests have shown that many sour candies have pH levels ranging from 1.5 to 3.5, which indicates that they are highly acidic. Consuming such candies can therefore increase the risk of enamel erosion.

Enamel erosion can lead to a variety of oral health issues, including:

  • Dental sensitivity to hot, cold, and sweet foods and drinks
  • Increased risk of cavities and tooth decay
  • Discoloration and staining of teeth
  • Changes in the shape and texture of teeth
  • Increased risk of tooth fractures

Specific acid compounds commonly found in sour candies like Refreshers include:

A 2015 study published in the Operative Dentistry journal examined the dental erosion caused by different types of candy and found that sour candies resulted in more erosion compared to non-sour sweets. The high acidity of these candies softens the tooth enamel, making it more susceptible to wear and decay over time.

To minimize the risk of enamel erosion from sour candies, it is recommended to:

  • Limited consumption of highly acidic foods and candies
  • Rinse the mouth with water after consuming sour candies to help neutralize the acids
  • Use fluoride mouthwash or toothpaste to help strengthen the enamel
  • Wait at least 30 minutes before brushing teeth after eating acidic foods to avoid further enamel damage
  • Consume sour candies along with meals rather than alone to reduce their impact on teeth

Monitoring the frequency and amount of sour candies consumed, along with maintaining a proper oral hygiene routine, can significantly lower the risks of enamel erosion. It is also wise to consult with a dental professional if there are concerns about dental health related to diet.

While moderate enjoyment of sour candies like Refreshers may be part of a varied diet, being aware of the potential risks and taking preventative measures can help maintain oral health. Always consider the impact that dietary choices have on dental and overall health, and seek to balance indulgences with informed, health-conscious decisions.

Moderation: How Much Is Too Much?

When it comes to indulging in sweets like Refreshers candy, the concept of moderation is key. This relates not only to overall health but also to avoiding negative side effects that may come from overconsumption. But what is a moderate amount when it comes to candy? Let's break down the components to better understand.

Firstly, it's essential to consider the ingredients in Refreshers. The main components are sugar and citric acid, with additional flavors and colorings. An excessive intake of sugar is linked with various health issues, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and dental problems. The American Heart Association suggests that women should consume no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day, while men should limit their intake to 36 grams.

Given that a single roll of Refreshers contains about 13 grams of sugar, consuming just three rolls would exceed the recommended daily limit for women and nearly reach the limit for men. In the context of a balanced diet, a moderate amount would be just part of a roll per day, preferably eaten alongside foods that stabilize blood sugar levels.

It's also crucial to consider individual sensitivity to citric acid, which can erode dental enamel and cause stomach upset in larger quantities. Sporadic consumption of Refreshers is unlikely to cause significant harm, but regular, daily intake can increase the risk of these issues.

Highlighting expert opinions, a study published in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry underscores the correlation between frequent consumption of acidic candies and dental erosion, suggesting individuals limit intake and practice good oral hygiene following candy consumption.

It's difficult to set a universal 'too much' line as this varies based on age, metabolism, activity level, and overall health. However, as a general guideline, the occasional small serving—consider that as being a few pieces, not multiple rolls—may be included in a balanced diet without significant health risks.

Remember to adjust your consumption based on your daily intake of other sugary foods and drinks. Staying within the boundaries of these recommendations can help mitigate the potential negative impacts of having Refreshers candy, though it's always best to prioritize whole foods rich in nutrients for overall well-being.

In summary, while an occasional piece of Refreshers candy can fit into a balanced diet, moderation is pivotal. Aim for a small portion size and be mindful of the cumulative effect of added sugars from other dietary sources throughout the day.

Healthier Sweet Snack Alternatives

When craving something sweet, it's worth considering alternative snacks that satisfy your sugar desires while offering more nutritional value or fewer health risks compared to Refreshers Candy. Balanced choices can help maintain energy levels, avoid blood sugar spikes, and contribute to overall well-being. Here are some healthier sweet snack alternatives:

  • Fresh Fruit: Naturally sweet and packed with vitamins, minerals, and fibers, fruits such as apples, berries, or oranges offer antioxidants and can help with hydration.
  • Dark Chocolate: Chocolate with a high cocoa content (70% or higher) can be a satisfying choice. It contains less sugar and is rich in flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties.
  • Fruit & Nut Bars: Bars made with whole nuts and real fruit provide protein, healthy fats, and fiber, which can help promote satiety and supply energy.
  • Yogurt with Honey & Nuts: Greek yogurt topped with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of nuts offers calcium, protein, and a pleasing mix of textures and flavors.
  • Dried Fruit: A small portion of dried fruit such as apricots, figs, or dates can be nutrient-dense and supply fiber. However, be mindful of portion sizes as dried fruit is higher in calories and sugars.
  • Rice Cakes with Nut Butter: Whole-grain rice cakes topped with almond or peanut butter combine healthy fats and carbohydrates for a fulfilling snack.
  • Homemade Smoothies: Blending a mix of fruits, vegetables, and a protein source like yogurt can create a refreshing and nutrient-packed beverage.
  • Oatmeal Cookies: Homemade oatmeal cookies using whole grains, natural sweeteners like maple syrup, and adding in nuts or fruit can be a healthier treat.
  • Trail Mix: Making your own trail mix with raw nuts, seeds, and a touch of dark chocolate pieces can satisfy a sweet tooth and provide a good source of essential nutrients.
  • Roasted Chickpeas: For a sweet and savory snack, try chickpeas roasted with cinnamon and a touch of honey or maple syrup.

When considering these alternatives, it is crucial to look at the overall quality and quantity of the ingredients. Stick to natural sweeteners in moderation, and be sure to prioritize unprocessed over highly processed snacks to optimize for health benefits. The goal is to choose snacks that offer more than just immediate gratification – they should also contribute positively to your long-term health.

Remember, moderation is key even with healthier options. Keeping an eye on portion sizes will help ensure that you're receiving the benefit of these snacks without overindulging in extra calories or sugars.

It’s also important to note that variability within a diet is essential. No single snack, no matter how healthy, should be consumed to excess. Variety ensures a broader intake of nutrients and helps keep your taste buds satisfied by changing flavors and textures.

For individuals with specific dietary needs or health concerns, it’s always best to consult with a dietitian or nutritionist to tailor snack choices to suit personal health goals and requirements.

Frequently asked questions

To enjoy Refreshers candy in a more dental-friendly way, consume them alongside meals to take advantage of increased saliva production, which helps neutralize acids. Drinking water afterwards can also help wash away residual acids and sugars. Maintaining good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing regularly, is essential.

If you are monitoring your blood sugar levels, it is critical to manage the intake of foods high in sugar like Refreshers candy. These can cause spikes in blood sugar, which may be detrimental for individuals with insulin resistance or diabetes. Opt for small portions and integrate them into a diet that also includes foods that stabilize blood sugar. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

Regular consumption of candies with artificial colors and additives can have varying effects on different individuals, including potential behavioral impacts and allergic reactions. While FDA approved, it's wise to consume these in moderation and opt for candies with natural colorants if there are specific health concerns or sensitivities.

Signs of enamel erosion from sour candies include increased dental sensitivity to hot, cold, and sweet foods or drinks, cavities, tooth decay, discoloration or staining, and changes in tooth shape and texture. If you notice any of these symptoms, it may be worth reducing acidic food intake and seeking advice from a dental professional.

Ask a question about Refreshers and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • dental sensitivity
  • increased risk of cavities
  • allergic reactions
  • hyperactivity in children
  • stomach upset

Possible long-term side effects

  • tooth decay
  • increased risk of obesity
  • type 2 diabetes
  • heart disease
  • dental erosion
  • potential hyperactivity
  • insulin resistance
  • addiction-like sugar consumption behavior

Ingredients to be aware of

Healthier alternatives

  • fresh fruit
  • dark chocolate
  • fruit & nut bars
  • greek yogurt with honey & nuts
  • dried fruit
  • rice cakes with nut butter
  • homemade smoothies
  • homemade oatmeal cookies
  • trail mix
  • roasted chickpeas

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

YumEarth Organic Lollipops

  • Rich in Vitamin C
  • Fruit flavored variety
  • Allergy-friendly
  • Gluten-free & Vegan
  • No artificial additives
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 03-19-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 03-19-2024

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