Werther’s Original sugar free candies have become a popular option for people looking for a sweet treat without all the sugar. But are these candies really a healthy alternative? Here is a comprehensive look at the ingredients, nutrition facts, and health effects of sugar free Werther’s.
What are the ingredients in sugar free Werther’s?
The main ingredients in Werther’s Original Sugar Free candies are:
– Isomalt – A sugar alcohol used as a sugar substitute. It has about half the calories of sugar.
– Vegetable oil – Used to give the candies their smooth, creamy texture. Typically a blend of palm kernel and coconut oils.
– Whole milk powder – Gives the candies a creamy dairy flavor.
– Cocoa butter – Derived from cacao beans, gives chocolaty Werther’s their rich taste.
– Natural and artificial flavors – Used to mimic the sweet taste of sugar.
– Soy lecithin – An emulsifier that helps blend ingredients.
– Colors added – Varies depending on candy flavor. Provides color without artificial dyes.
So while they don’t contain sugar, sugar free Werther’s do include sugar alcohols, oils, and artificial flavors to replace the sweetness of sugar while keeping calories lower.
Nutrition Facts for Sugar Free Werther’s
Here are the nutrition facts for a typical serving of 5 sugar free Werther’s Original candies:
– Calories: 80
– Total Fat: 5g
– Saturated Fat: 3.5g
– Trans Fat: 0g
– Cholesterol: 5mg
– Sodium: 0mg
– Total Carbs: 9g
– Dietary Fiber: 0g
– Total Sugars: 0g
– Includes 0g added sugars
– Protein: 1g
The main nutrients supplied are calories from fat rather than carbohydrates. Since sugar alcohols like isomalt are not fully digested and absorbed, sugar free Werther’s are lower in net carbs and calories than the original. But the candies still provide calories from fat due to the oils used.
Do sugar free Werther’s raise blood sugar?
One of the main reasons people choose sugar free candy is to avoid raising blood sugar levels. So do Werther’s sugar free candies succeed in this?
Research shows sugar alcohols like isomalt have less impact on blood sugar than regular sugar. But they can still raise blood glucose and insulin levels to some degree if eaten in large amounts.
In moderation, a few sugar free Werther’s should only cause minor fluctuations in blood sugar for most people. But those with diabetes need to be mindful of overdoing it. Enjoying 1-2 candies is unlikely to require extra medication. But portion control is advised, especially for those with difficulty managing blood sugar.
Do sugar free Werther’s have any side effects?
Sugar alcohols like isomalt are generally well tolerated in small amounts. But some people experience digestive side effects from sugar free candy, including:
These issues arise because isomalt isn’t fully broken down and absorbed in the small intestine. Instead, it passes to the large intestine where gut bacteria ferment it, releasing gases and pulling water into the bowel.
The amount of isomalt needed to cause problems varies by individual. Those with irritable bowel syndrome or other gut issues may experience discomfort from just a few pieces of sugar free Werther’s. Healthy adults can typically handle moderate amounts, around 20-30 grams of sugar alcohol.
If you experience unpleasant symptoms, reduce your portion sizes or avoid sugar free candy altogether. Make sure to drink plenty of water too, which helps move sugar alcohols through the system.
Do sugar free Werther’s promote weight loss?
With fewer calories and carbs than regular candy, it would seem logical that sugar free Werther’s are good for weight loss. But according to research, sugar free foods alone are unlikely to lead to significant weight loss. Here’s why:
– Sugar free candies like Werther’s still provide calories from fat, limiting the calorie reduction.
– Low-carb foods don’t necessarily curb appetite and calorie intake throughout the day.
– Sugar free candies are still considered “empty calories” with minimal nutrition.
– Replacing sugar with sugar alcohols doesn’ttrain taste buds to prefer less sweetness long-term.
That said, enjoying an occasional sugar free Werther as part of an overall healthy diet can fit into weight management plans for some people. Just don’t view them as a free pass to eat large amounts. Moderation is key, along with an emphasis on nutrient-dense whole foods for weight loss.
Do sugar free Werther’s have prebiotic benefits?
Some research indicates sugar alcohols may provide prebiotic benefits by promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Since our bodies can’t digest them fully, isomalt and other sugar alcohols pass through the gut mostly unchanged where bacteria feed on them.
Specific strains like Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus appear to utilize sugar alcohols well. Early studies show sugar alcohol prebiotics may:
– Increase overall healthy gut bacteria
– Reduce risk of gastrointestinal issues
– Improve mineral absorption
– Provide antioxidant effects
However, more research is needed to confirm these potential benefits. While sugar free Werther’s contain prebiotic isomalt, keep in mind they also contain fatty oils that could negatively impact gut health if over-consumed. Overall dietary patterns play a major role in the gut microbiome.
Can children safely eat sugar free Werther’s?
Sugar free candies are often positioned as a better choice for children than regular candy. But are Werther’s Original sugar free actually safe for kids to eat?
According to pediatrics experts, sugar free gummy bears, mints, and other candies are not recommended for children under age 3. At this young age, their digestive and excretory systems are still developing. Consuming sugar alcohols can result in painful gas, diarrhea, and other issues.
Sugar free candies are safer for older children and adults, but moderation is still advised. To limit the risk of digestive upset, children 4+ should consume no more than 10-15 grams of sugar alcohols daily from all sources. Parents should monitor intake and watch for adverse reactions.
Of course, fresh fruits and other nutritious foods are far healthier choices than sugar free candy. But for an occasional sweet treat, a portion-controlled Werther’s sugar free candy or two should be safe for most school-aged kids.
Do sugar free Werther’s have dental benefits?
One advantage of sugar free candy is it doesn’t contribute to cavities and tooth decay like sugar-laden candies. With no actual sugars, Werther’s sugar free won’t directly interact with oral bacteria to form the acids that erode tooth enamel.
However, studies show that sugar alcohols like isomalt can still be fermented by certain oral bacteria strains. The byproducts of this reaction lower pH in the mouth, raising acidity levels. Frequent or long-term exposure could indirectly contribute to some enamel demineralization.
For this reason, it’s still smart dental hygiene to rinse mouth with water after eating sugar free Werther’s. Chewing sugar-free gum afterward can also help neutralize mouth pH. But overall, sugar free Werther’s are a better choice for teeth than original candies. Just don’t overdo the portion sizes.
Can diabetics eat sugar free Werther’s?
Sugar free Werther’s can be a good occasional candy substitute for diabetics when consumed carefully. Since they are lower in carbs and less likely to spike blood sugar than sugary candies, a few pieces can potentially fit into a healthy diabetes diet.
Keep in mind effects vary by individual. Those with type 1 diabetes or who use insulin will need to closely monitor levels in case adjustments are needed. Talk to your doctor to set guidelines for occasional treats.
It’s also essential for diabetics to focus on overall meal planning, carb counting, and moderation when incorporating sugar free treats. Don’t view them as “free foods” and overdo portions. Healthy carb choices should still be the foundation of your diet.
Do sugar free Werther’s have gluten?
Werther’s Original Sugar Free candies are labeled as “gluten-free” and safe for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
On the ingredients list, the only potential source of gluten is “natural flavors.” However, the brand’s manufacturer, August Storck KG, states that all natural flavors used in their gluten-free products are wheat-free.
So while Werther’s Sugar Free candies don’t contain whole gluten sources like wheat, barley or rye, it’s still possible they are processed on shared equipment. People with severe gluten allergies may want to contact the company directly for assurance if concerned about cross-contamination risks.
But overall, Werther’s sugar free variety is designed to exclude gluten and be well-tolerated by most people who have to follow gluten-free diets for health reasons. Always check labels to confirm gluten-free status before consuming.
Can sugar free Werther’s help manage heartburn?
For those prone to heartburn, sugar free Werther’s could be a safer option than gummy or chewy sour candies.
Since they quickly dissolve in the mouth, sugar free Werther’s toffees are less likely to aggravate reflux compared to candies that linger and stimulate more acid production.
That said, anyone with frequent heartburn should still limit acidic foods. Ingredients like cocoa butter provide some saturated fat that could potentially relax the esophageal sphincter and contribute to reflux. Enjoying an occasional small portion of sugar free Werther’s won’t do harm, but they aren’t an antidote for heartburn either.
Do sugar free Werther’s have vegan ingredients?
Unfortunately for those following plant-based diets, Werther’s Original Sugar Free are not vegan friendly. The inclusion of milk powder means they contain dairy ingredients.
However, there are some candy options that provide vegan alternatives to Werther’s:
– YumEarth Organic Dots are fruit juice-flavored vegan gummy candies.
– Surf Sweets gummy bears are made without gelatin and artificials colors but provide a similar chewy texture.
– SmartSweets are vegan versions of gummy candies and sour sweets. Most flavors are made with plant fiber instead of sugar alcohols.
– Squish Candies make vegan marshmallows in fun shapes like hearts and stars.
So while exact vegan versions of Werther’s Original don’t exist, there are comparable plant-based gummy and chewy candies to choose from. Those following a vegan diet have no shortage of sweet treat options.
When consumed occasionally and in moderation, sugar free Werther’s can be a decent candy substitute for those limiting sugar, carbs, or calories. They offer fewer grams of sugar than traditional candies and cause less impact on dental health. But their ingredients like isomalt and oils still require caution, especially for children and people with health conditions like diabetes or IBS. While sugar free Werther’s beat out sugary candies in some regards, they aren’t as nutritious as unprocessed whole foods. Overall, they make an OK option for an occasional sweet treat, but healthier choices are advised for daily snacking. Stick to small portions of sugar free Werther’s, and always combine with an overall balanced diet based on whole foods.