Bomb pops are a classic frozen treat that many remember fondly from childhood summers. With their red, white, and blue frozen layers, bomb pops evoke feelings of nostalgia and patriotism. But as we grow up, some may begin to wonder – just how much sugar is in those bomb pops we used to love?
The quick answer is yes, bomb pops do contain added sugar. Let’s take a deeper look at the nutritional information and ingredients behind this icy, sweet summertime snack.
Bomb pops, also sometimes called rocket pops or firecracker pops, are icy treats usually consisting of three separate frozen layers – a cherry (red), lime (white), and blue raspberry (blue) flavor. The nutrition facts can vary slightly depending on the brand, but in general a standard bomb pop contains:
- Calories: 40-80 calories per pop
- Total fat: 0-2g
- Sodium: 15-40mg
- Total carbohydrates: 9-18g
- Sugar: 9-12g
So in a single bomb pop, you’re getting around 40-80 calories and 9-12 grams of sugar – and very little fat, sodium, protein or fiber. The main nutritional component is carbohydrates from added sugars.
Many health authorities recommend limiting added sugars to 25 grams or less per day. Just one bomb pop delivers almost half of that amount!
So while they may be low in fat and calories, bomb pops are definitely high in added sugar.
To get a better idea of just how much sugar bomb pops contain, let’s look at the ingredients list:
A typical bomb pop contains:
- Corn syrup
- Fruit juice concentrates
- Natural and artificial flavors
- Stabilizers like guar gum
As you can see, sugar is the second ingredient after water – a clear sign that bomb pops contain a high amount of added sugar. Corn syrup is also a type of added sugar. Together, they make up the majority of a bomb pop’s content.
The fruit juice concentrates provide a bit of natural sweetness as well, but they are lower on the ingredients list. The colors, flavors, and stabilizers round out the bomb pop ingredients.
Added Sugars vs Natural Sugars
When looking at sugar content, it’s important to differentiate between naturally occurring sugars like those found in fruits and milks versus added sugars.
Naturally occurring sugars come packaged with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients inherent to their whole food source. Added sugars like those in bomb pops lack those beneficial nutrients.
Studies continue to show that diets high in added sugars can contribute to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, fatty liver disease and other chronic health conditions over time. That’s why health authorities recommend limiting added sugar intake.
So even though bomb pops do provide a bit of natural sugar from fruit juice concentrates, the majority of their sugar content – 9-12 grams per pop – comes from added sugars like sugar and corn syrup.
Are Sugar-Free Bomb Pops a Better Choice?
You may be wondering if sugar-free bomb pops are a smarter alternative if you’re watching your sugar intake.
Sugar-free bomb pops are made with alternative sweeteners like aspartame, acesulfame potassium, sucralose or stevia instead of sugar. This brings the carb and calorie count way down.
However, the jury’s still out on whether artificial sweeteners are harmless in the amounts consumed. Early studies linked them to cancer risk, but more recent research has not found strong evidence of harm.
One thing we do know is that for weight loss, artificial sweeteners don’t seem to be any better than regular sugar. The taste of sweetness can trigger cravings and overeating. Studies show people who use artificial sweeteners don’t end up losing more weight compared to those who get sugar from other foods and drinks.
For the occasional sweet treat, a sugar-free bomb pop may be an acceptable swap. But they shouldn’t be viewed as a free pass to eat as many as you want. Moderation is still key.
Bomb Pop Alternatives
If you’re looking to cut back on added sugars but still want a refreshing frozen treat, here are some healthier bomb pop alternatives to consider:
- Make homemade fruit pops by blending fruit and yogurt, then freezing in molds.
- Look for brands that use monk fruit or stevia extracts rather than artificial sweeteners.
- Choose fruit bars made with just fruit, juice and natural sweeteners.
- Make pops with coconut water and fresh berries.
- Opt for plain ice pops you can flavor yourself with fresh fruit.
You can also still enjoy regular bomb pops, but practice portion control – consider splitting one with a friend or saving them for special occasions rather than everyday treats. Moderation and variety are key principles of healthy eating.
The Bottom Line
Bomb pops are certainly tasty treats that spark nostalgia for many. But with 9-12 grams of added sugar per pop, they are more of a sugary confection than real fruit. The red, white and blue frozen layers get their vibrant hues from artificial colorings rather than natural fruits.
Nevertheless, enjoying the occasional bomb pop as part of an overall healthy diet is perfectly fine for most people. Just be mindful of portion sizes and how often you indulge. Alternating with healthier frozen treats can help cut back on excess added sugars while still allowing you to beat the heat with something sweet and icy.
Moderation is key. Be mindful of your overall sugar intake and aim for balance to promote good health – while still leaving room for the simple sweet pleasures of summer!
Frequently Asked Questions
How much sugar is in a bomb pop?
Most bomb pops contain 9-12 grams of added sugar per pop. This is almost half the recommended daily limit for added sugars.
Are bomb pops bad for you?
Bomb pops are high in added sugar and low in overall nutritional value. Eating too many can contribute to health problems associated with excessive added sugar intake. However, enjoying them occasionally as part of a balanced diet is fine for most people.
What is the healthiest frozen treat?
The healthiest frozen treats are those made with minimal added sugars and more natural ingredients like fruit and yogurt. Good options include homemade fruit pops, fruit bars with no added sugar, coconut water popsicles, and plain ice pops you flavor yourself.
Do snow cones have a lot of sugar?
Yes, snow cones are high in added sugars. A typical serving provides around 20-40 grams of added sugar depending on size. Stick to smaller portions and consider getting flavors with no added sugar like fruit-only options.
Are Popsicles healthy?
It depends on the type. Regular popsicles often contain added sugars. But fruit and yogurt popsicles with no added sweeteners can be a healthy frozen treat option when eaten in moderation. Check labels and ingredients for nutrition facts.
Bomb pops are nostalgic summer treats, but should be enjoyed in moderation due to their high added sugar content. One bomb pop can contain 9-12 grams of added sugar – nearly half the recommended daily intake. While the occasional bomb pop is unlikely to cause harm, regularly consuming too many can negatively impact health. Be mindful of portion sizes and choose fruit-based alternatives to help control added sugar intake. With some mindfulness, you can still enjoy your favorite summer frozen treats while maintaining balanced nutrition.