Is Hershey’s syrup safe?

Hershey’s syrup is a popular chocolate flavored syrup that has been around for over 100 years. It’s often used to make chocolate milk, ice cream sundaes, or as a topping for desserts. While Hershey’s syrup is generally considered safe, some people have raised concerns over its ingredients and health effects. This article will examine the key ingredients in Hershey’s syrup, potential health risks, and if it’s still considered a safe product for consumption.

Key Ingredients in Hershey’s Syrup

The main ingredients in Hershey’s chocolate syrup include:

  • High fructose corn syrup – This is the primary sweetener used in Hershey’s syrup. High fructose corn syrup is chemically similar to table sugar but extracted from corn. It’s used in many processed foods and sodas as a cost effective sweetener.
  • Corn syrup – This is a thickener and another source of glucose and fructose sugars.
  • Cocoa – This provides the chocolate flavor. Hershey’s uses a proprietary blend of cocoa powders and extracts.
  • Skim milk – Adds creaminess and texture.
  • Palm oil – Used as a stabilizer.
  • Natural and artificial flavors – Help enhance the chocolate taste.
  • Potassium sorbate – A preservative.
  • Salt
  • Soy lecithin – An emulsifier to help evenly mix ingredients.

So in summary, the main ingredients are corn-based sugars for sweetness, cocoa for flavor, and preservatives plus emulsifiers help give it a smooth, uniform texture and long shelf life. Many of these ingredients are found in other processed sweets and chocolates.

Are the Ingredients in Hershey’s Syrup Safe?

Let’s take a closer look at some of the main ingredients that have raised health concerns:

High fructose corn syrup – HFCS is one of the most controversial ingredients. It has been linked to obesity, fatty liver disease, diabetes, and heart disease in some studies. However, other reviews have found insufficient evidence to say HFCS is any worse than regular sugar. It does contain slightly higher fructose levels which may impact metabolism differently than glucose. But overall, the HFCS in Hershey’s syrup is likely no better or worse than using regular granulated cane sugar.

Artificial flavors – Artificial flavors are synthesized chemical mixtures designed to mimic natural flavors. While the artificial flavors in Hershey’s syrup have been deemed safe by regulators, some consumers prefer to avoid artificial additives where possible. Natural flavorings would be a better choice for those trying to eat cleaner labels.

Palm oil – Palm oil cultivation has led to deforestation and habitat destruction in southeast Asia. However, efforts are being made across the industry for more sustainable palm oil harvesting. Hershey’s has made commitments to source only certified sustainable palm oil.

Overall, the ingredients Hershey’s uses in their chocolate syrup appear safe in the quantities added. They have been used for many years without raising major health alarms. The ingredients provide the consistent, smooth texture and long shelf life consumers expect. However, those wanting to avoid highly processed foods, artificial additives, or environmentally damaging oils may choose to substitute homemade chocolate sauces using more natural ingredients.

Potential Health Risks of Hershey’s Syrup

Here are some of the potential health risks to consider with drinking or consuming Hershey’s chocolate syrup:

  • Weight gain – With 130 calories and 24g of sugar per serving, the syrup is high in calories and added sugars. Drinking chocolate milk or adding syrup to ice cream on a regular basis can cause unhealthy weight gain, especially in children.
  • Blood sugar spikes – The high fructose corn syrup can rapidly spike blood glucose and insulin levels compared to lower glycemic foods.
  • Tooth decay – Like any sugary food, the sugar in Hershey’s syrup can promote cavities and dental decay.
  • Allergies – Hershey’s syrup contains dairy, soy, and corn ingredients that can cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

However, these risks are not unique to Hershey’s syrup. Many sugary foods and beverages carry the same concerns. The key is moderation and limiting daily sugar intake from all sources to avoid health impacts.

Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Bad for You?

Since high fructose corn syrup is one of the main controversial ingredients in Hershey’s chocolate syrup, let’s take a closer look at its health effects:

  • HFCS is chemically similar to table sugar with roughly equal parts glucose to fructose. But it contains slightly higher fructose levels at 55% compared to 50% in sugar.
  • The higher fructose content may increase appetite and calories consumed compared to regular sugar.
  • Fructose is metabolized differently than glucose, causing more fat formation and stress on the liver.
  • Studies on HFCS and obesity, diabetes, and heart disease have been mixed. Some show harm, others show no difference from regular sweeteners.
  • HFCS is often found in processed foods, sodas, and sweets with little nutritional value. But it’s not necessarily worse than consuming the same calories from sucrose sugar.
  • Both HFCS and regular added sugars should be limited. But HFCS is not conclusively proven to be any more harmful than other added sugars.

Overall there is no definitive evidence that HFCS itself causes substantially greater harm than regular table sugar. Both types of added sweeteners should be minimized in a healthy diet. But HFCS does not appear to be a uniquely toxic ingredient on its own based on current science.

Is Hershey’s Syrup Gluten Free?

Many consumers with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity wonder if Hershey’s syrup contains gluten. According to Hershey’s, their chocolate syrup products are labeled gluten free.

Hershey’s states their syrups are produced in gluten free facilities and all ingredients are gluten free. However, individuals with celiac disease are still advised to use their own judgement. Even products labeled gluten free can still risk trace amounts of cross contamination. Sensitive individuals should consider their own tolerance levels.

But overall, Hershey’s syrup appears to be designed as a gluten free product based on its ingredient labels and manufacturing processes. Consumers with celiac concerns should still check for any changes in formulas or production practices for the latest information.

Comparing Hershey’s Syrup Nutrition Facts With Other Brands

How does Hershey’s chocolate syrup nutrition compare to other popular brands? Here is a nutrition facts comparison per 2 tbsp serving:

Brand Calories Sugar Protein
Hershey’s Syrup 130 24g 0g
Nesquik Syrup 130 21g 1g
Torani Syrup 100 25g 0g
Fox’s U-Bet Syrup 100 23g 0g
Hershey’s Special Dark Syrup 80 16g 1g

As you can see, most brands of chocolate syrup are fairly comparable in calories and sugars. Hershey’s original syrup tends to be on the higher side for both. Special dark syrup varieties are lower in sugar due to the darker cocoa and lower milk content. But overall, most standard chocolate syrups are close nutritionally with ~100-130 calories and 21-25g sugars per serving.

Is Hershey’s Syrup Vegan?

Hershey’s chocolate syrup is not considered vegan due to containing milk and dairy ingredients. Traditional Hershey’s syrup lists skim milk and whey among its ingredients. Whey comes from dairy.

However, there are vegan labeled chocolate syrups available for consumers avoiding all animal products. Brands like Fox’s U-bet or Torani sell syrups made with rice milk or soy milk instead of dairy.

So while classic Hershey’s syrup is not vegan due to containing milk-derived ingredients, there are vegan friendly alternatives available under various brands and formulations. Those seeking vegan chocolate syrup can look for plant-based milk ingredients and no lactose or whey listed.

Is Hershey’s Syrup Dairy Free?

Hershey’s syrup is not dairy free. Hershey’s chocolate syrup contains both skim milk and whey. Whey is a watery part of milk that remains after cheese manufacturing. Both skim milk and whey are dairy derivatives.

Some individuals with dairy allergies or lactose intolerance may still be able to tolerate small amounts of milk chocolate products without issues. But Hershey’s syrup is not considered fully dairy free for those with milk allergies or avoiding dairy completely.

There are dairy free chocolate syrups available if needed. Brands like Santa Cruz Organic make syrups with coconut milk instead of dairy milk. So dairy free options exist, but traditional Hershey’s syrup itself contains milk ingredients according to the product labeling.

Does Hershey’s Syrup Contain High Fructose Corn Syrup?

Yes, high fructose corn syrup is the primary sweetener used in Hershey’s chocolate syrup. HFCS appears as the first ingredient listed on their chocolate syrup’s ingredient label.

Some consumers prefer to avoid products with HFCS due to health concerns around added sugars and highly processed ingredients. Hershey’s uses HFCS as it provides a smooth, uniform sweetness at a lower cost than cane sugar. But products without HFCS are available for those wishing to avoid it.

Organic brands like Santa Cruz Organic use cane sugar instead of HFCS in their syrups. So consumers can find chocolate syrups without HFCS, but Hershey’s standard chocolate syrup does contain high fructose corn syrup according to the ingredient labels.

Does Hershey’s Syrup Have Preservatives?

Hershey’s chocolate syrup contains potassium sorbate, a chemical preservative. Potassium sorbate appears on their ingredient list toward the end. It helps extend the shelf life and prevent mold growth.

Being a highly processed food product, Hershey’s syrup requires chemical preservatives to maintain stability and prevent spoilage during shipping and on store shelves. Potassium sorbate is a commonly used preservative deemed safe by food regulators. But it’s not found in fresh, homemade chocolate sauces.

Consumers wishing to avoid chemical preservatives may want to choose an organic brand or make their own chocolate syrup. In that case, the syrup would need refrigeration and have a shorter shelf life. But preservative free options exist even if Hershey’s standard syrup does contain potassium sorbate.

Does Hershey’s Syrup Have Artificial Colors or Flavors?

Hershey’s chocolate syrup contains both artificial flavors and caramel color listed on its ingredients label. The artificial flavors provide extra chocolate taste while the caramel color provides a richer, darker brown hue.

Many processed chocolate products contain artificial flavors and colors to help boost the chocolate experience people expect. However, some health conscious consumers prefer to avoid artificial additives where possible.

Organic chocolate syrups will be free of artificial colors and flavors. Brands like Santa Cruz Organic and Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value use natural flavors and omit chemical colorings. So opting for organic syrup is one way to avoid artificial additives while still enjoying chocolate syrup.


Hershey’s chocolate syrup is a nostalgic product that has been enjoyed for generations. While highly processed and sugary, it’s not substantially different nutritionally than many other syrups and sweet treats. There are no proven major health risks from Hershey’s syrup itself when consumed in moderation. However, those wanting to minimize processed ingredients, added sugars, artificial additives, or potential allergens may prefer alternate products. Organic chocolate syrups with cane sugar, natural flavors, and non-dairy milks provide similar flavor without the artificial additives. But for most people, enjoying Hershey’s syrup occasionally poses no significant health risks as part of an overall balanced diet. Moderation is key, as with any indulgent treat.

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