Sour Patch candies are extremely popular sour gummy candies produced by Mondelēz International. With their intensely sour coating and sweet center, Sour Patch candies deliver a sour then sweet tangy flavor that candy lovers crave. But an important question for those with celiac disease or who follow a gluten-free diet is whether Sour Patch candies are gluten-free and safe to consume.
What is celiac disease?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes damage to the small intestine when gluten is ingested. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. When people with celiac disease eat gluten, their immune system reacts by attacking the small intestine, causing damage and preventing the absorption of important nutrients into the body. This can lead to symptoms like diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, nutritional deficiencies and an increased risk for other health issues.
Currently, the only treatment for celiac disease is following a strict lifelong gluten-free diet. This means avoiding any foods that contain wheat, barley or rye ingredients. Even small amounts of gluten from cross-contamination can trigger symptoms and damage. That’s why checking labels and understanding what makes a food gluten-free is so important.
Are Sour Patch Kids gluten-free?
The good news is that regular Sour Patch Kids candies are considered gluten-free. According to the manufacturer, Sour Patch Kids do not contain any wheat, barley, rye or gluten ingredients. The candies are made with sugar, corn syrup, modified food starch, citric acid, white grape juice concentrate, sodium citrate, gelatin, lactic acid, natural and artificial flavors, red 40, yellow 6, yellow 5 and blue 1.
However, it’s important to note that Sour Patch Kids are made on shared equipment that also processes wheat-containing items. This means there is a small chance of cross-contamination with gluten. The brand advised that anyone following a gluten-free diet double check the packaging for an up-to-date gluten-free statement.
Are other Sour Patch candies gluten-free?
Beyond the original Sour Patch Kids candies, Mondelēz International produces other varieties and flavors. These include:
- Sour Patch Kids Berries
- Sour Patch Kids Extreme Sour
- Sour Patch Kids Tropical
- Sour Patch Kids Redberry
- Sour Patch Kids Blue Raspberry
- Sour Patch Kids Watermelon
According to the manufacturer, all of these Sour Patch varieties are also considered gluten-free. As with the original Sour Patch Kids, they do not contain wheat, barley, rye or gluten ingredients. However, there is still the possibility of trace amounts of gluten due to cross-contact during manufacturing.
Are Sour Patch Kids a healthy snack for celiacs?
While Sour Patch Kids are gluten-free, that doesn’t necessarily make them a healthy snack choice for people with celiac disease. Here are some things to consider:
- They are high in sugar. A serving size of Sour Patch Kids (1 ounce or around 22 pieces) contains 13 grams of sugar.
- They lack nutrients. The candies provide calories mainly from sugar with minimal amounts of vitamins, minerals or fiber.
- Risk of cross-contamination. Even though the risk is low, celiacs sensitive to trace gluten may react.
- Can aggravate symptoms. The high sugar content may irritate the digestive system and aggravate celiac symptoms.
Instead, people with celiac disease may want to satisfy their sweet tooth with healthier options like fresh fruits naturally sweetened gluten-free yogurt, dark chocolate and gluten-free cookies made with almond or oat flour.
What about Sour Patch cereal and other products?
In addition to the candies, the Sour Patch brand has expanded to products like Sour Patch Kids cereal, Sour Patch Kids baking chips and frosting, and Sour Patch Kids flavored slushes at 7-Eleven and other convenience stores. So are these products also safe when you’re gluten-free?
Sour Patch Kids Cereal: According to General Mills, Sour Patch Kids Cereal contains gluten and is not suitable for a gluten-free diet.
Sour Patch Kids Baking Chips and Frosting: These products distributed by Barry Callebaut do not contain any wheat, rye, barley or gluten according to the manufacturer. However, they note the risk of cross-contact with gluten during processing on shared equipment. They advise people with celiac disease to use their own discretion with consuming these items.
Sour Patch Kids Slushes: According to 7-Eleven, these slushes are not gluten-free. The majority of the Slurpee drink flavors are noted to contain gluten.
Tips for consuming Sour Patch Kids gluten-free
If you decide to enjoy Sour Patch Kids as a gluten-free treat, here are some recommendations to help minimize risk:
- Check the label each time you purchase Sour Patch Kids to make sure the gluten-free status has not changed. Contact the manufacturer if you have any concerns.
- Look for a dedicated gluten-free claim, and avoid any packaging that doesn’t clearly state “gluten-free”.
- Purchase individual packs rather than bulk bags, which have a higher risk of cross-contamination.
- Enjoy Sour Patch Kids in moderation as part of an otherwise healthy and balanced gluten-free diet.
- Be extra vigilant about washing hands, surfaces, and utensils before and after contact with the candies if you are highly sensitive.
- Watch for any adverse reactions and discontinue use if any symptoms occur.
Sour Patch Kids candies are considered gluten-free, however there is a risk of trace gluten exposure. Most people who follow a gluten-free diet can enjoy Sour Patch Kids, but those with celiac disease or who are highly sensitive should take extra care. Always check for the gluten-free label each time, and contact the manufacturer with any concerns. For celiacs, moderation is key, as Sour Patch Kids are high in sugar and lack nutritional value. Overall, with proper precautions, Sour Patch Kids can be part of a gluten-free lifestyle, but they should not become a daily habit.