Is SmartSweets candy gluten free?

SmartSweets is a popular brand of low sugar candy that uses natural sweeteners like erythritol and stevia instead of added sugars. Many people enjoy SmartSweets because they satisfy sweet cravings while being lower in calories and carbs compared to traditional candy. However, an important question for people with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or who follow a gluten-free diet is: is SmartSweets candy gluten free?

What is SmartSweets candy?

SmartSweets is a brand of low-sugar gummy candies and licorice that are made without artificial sweeteners or colors. The company was founded in 2016 with a mission to reinvent candy to be free from added sugars and artificial ingredients. SmartSweets makes gummy bears, gummy worms, gummy fish, sour gummy bears, unicorn poop (brightly colored fruit-flavored gummies), peach rings, rainbow cords licorice, and sour blast buddies.

Instead of added sugars like sucrose, glucose, etc., SmartSweets uses natural sweeteners like erythritol and stevia to sweeten their candies. These natural sweeteners provide sweetness without significantly increasing blood sugar levels. As a result, SmartSweets candies are much lower in sugar and calories compared to traditional gummy bears – a serving of SmartSweets gummies has about 2-3 grams of sugar versus regular gummies which can have 25-30 grams per serving.

In addition to lower sugar, SmartSweets does not contain any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Their candies are also non-GMO, soy free, dairy free, and vegan. Many of their products are certified gluten-free as well.

Are SmartSweets candies gluten free?

Many SmartSweets candies are certified gluten-free, however not all of their products are guaranteed gluten-free. According to SmartSweets, they state that:

“All of our products are gluten-free except for our Rainbow Whirls, Rainbow Sours Belt, and Twisted Rainbow Sours Belt which contain wheat/gluten.”

So when purchasing SmartSweets, it’s important to double check the label or product description online to see if it is certified gluten-free. Any of their products that contain wheat or are not marked “gluten-free” should be avoided if you have celiac disease or a sensitivity to gluten.

SmartSweets gluten-free candies

Here are some examples of SmartSweets candies that are labeled gluten-free:

  • Gummy Bears
  • Gummy Worms
  • Gummy Fish
  • Sour Gummy Bears
  • Sour Blast Buddies
  • Fruity Bears
  • Sour Blast Buddies
  • Peach Rings
  • Tropical Tigers
  • Berry Bears
  • Sour Blast Buddies

Again, always verify by checking the label or product description for a “gluten-free” confirmation.

SmartSweets candies that contain gluten

The following SmartSweets candies contain wheat and are not gluten-free:

  • Rainbow Whirls
  • Rainbow Sours Belts
  • Twisted Rainbow Sours Belts

Those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance will want to avoid consuming those specific products.

What makes a food product gluten-free?

For a food product to be certified gluten-free, it must meet certain standards set by gluten-free labeling regulations in that country. In the United States, the FDA defines gluten-free as meaning the food contains less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten.

Essentially, a gluten-free product must not contain any detectable traces of the proteins found in wheat (gliadin), barley (hordein) or rye (secalin). Oats are inherently gluten-free, but are frequently contaminated with the other grains, so purity protocols must be in place for oats labeled gluten-free.

Being gluten-free means completely avoiding grains and starches that contain these problematic proteins, as well as products derived from them. This includes:

  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Triticale
  • Malt

A product that contains any amount over 20 ppm of gluten is not considered gluten-free. This is the threshold because celiac disease patients can tolerate trace amounts of gluten, but research shows that keeping gluten intake under this level prevents intestinal damage.

How SmartSweets keeps gluten out of most of their candies

For a candy brand to produce gluten-free products, they need to ensure none of the ingredients contain gluten, and that there is no cross-contamination during processing and packaging. Here are some of the ways SmartSweets keeps their facilities and candies gluten-free:

  • They source ingredients that are naturally gluten-free, like fruit juices, glucose syrup, pectin, citric acid, malic acid etc.
  • Their facilities have allergen control plans and standard operating procedures in place.
  • Separate equipment and production lines are used for gluten-containing candies.
  • Thorough cleaning procedures between production runs.
  • Testing of products and surfaces for gluten during production.
  • Dedicated gluten-free storage areas.

SmartSweets takes steps to avoid cross-contamination for their gluten-free candies. However, their disclaimer states that exposure can still occur due to sharing facilities and equipment:

“Our allergen controls at our manufacturing facilities are designed to allow for the production of gluten-free products. However, gluten-free products are produced on shared equipment that processes wheat/gluten.”

So even gluten-free labeled SmartSweets may contain traces of gluten, but should fall under the allowed limits. People with celiac disease or who are highly sensitive should be aware of the potential for cross-contact.

Are SmartSweets vegan and vegetarian friendly?

In addition to being gluten-free, SmartSweets candies are also vegan and vegetarian friendly. None of their products contain any animal-derived ingredients like dairy, eggs, honey etc. They do not use gelatin in their gummy candies – instead, they use pectin which is plant-derived.

SmartSweets are peanut-free as well, so they can be consumed by people with nut allergies. They are processed in facilities that handle nuts, so there is a warning that cross-contamination may occur.

Here is a summary of SmartSweets’ main dietary attributes:

  • Gluten-free – most candies, check labels
  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
  • Peanut-free
  • Non-GMO
  • No artificial sweeteners or colors

This makes them an ideal sweet treat option for many people with food restrictions and allergies.

Nutrition facts of SmartSweets

One of the healthiest aspects of SmartSweets candies is their nutrition profile compared to regular candy. Since they are low in sugar and made with natural sweeteners, their calorie and carb content is significantly lower.

However, since these are essentially vitamin-free candies, they should still be eaten in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet.

Here is a nutrition comparison of SmartSweets versus typical candy per serving:

Nutrition Facts SmartSweets (1oz/28g) Regular Candy (1oz/28g)
Calories 80 140
Total Carbs 5g 30g
Sugar 2g 25g
Protein 2g 0g

As you can see, SmartSweets candies are significantly lower in calories, carbs, and sugar compared to regular candies. They do contain a small amount of protein primarily from the gelatin alternative called pectin.


SmartSweets uses natural sweeteners, gelling and bulking agents, fruit juices, oils, citric acid, and natural colors and flavors. They do not contain any added sugars.

Common ingredients include:

  • Erythritol
  • Stevia
  • Vegetable oils
  • Fruit juices and purees
  • Pectin
  • Citric acid
  • Natural flavors and colors

Those with diabetes don’t have to dose insulin for SmartSweets or worry about blood sugar spikes thanks to the low-glycemic sweeteners.

Do SmartSweets candies have sugar alcohols?

Yes, SmartSweets does contain sugar alcohols, specifically erythritol which is their primary sweetener along with stevia. Erythritol is a natural sugar alcohol derived from corn that provides sweetness without calories or affecting blood sugar.

Some people can experience digestive side effects from sugar alcohols like gas, bloating or diarrhea when eaten in excess. The amount found in a serving of SmartSweets is generally well-tolerated, but you may want to moderate your intake if you are sensitive to sugar alcohols.

Pricing and where to buy SmartSweets

SmartSweets candies are priced in the range of $3-5 for a 3oz bag depending on the retailer. They are stocked by many major grocery chains such as Kroger, Safeway, Walmart, Target, as well as natural food stores like Whole Foods and Sprouts.

You can check the store locator on SmartSweets’ website to find a seller near you. They are also available from online retailers like Amazon.

SmartSweets frequently offers coupons on their website to help offset the cost compared to regular candy. Signing up for their newsletter will provide promotions and discount codes.

Reviews of popular SmartSweets products

Most people who try SmartSweetscandies enjoy the taste and are pleased to find a low-sugar candy alternative. However, some types are better received than others. Here are reviews of some top-selling SmartSweets products:

Gummy Bears

The classic gummy bear is one of SmartSweets’ best products. The texture is smooth and chewy like regular gummies, and the natural fruit flavors like raspberry, orange, and lemon taste fruity and sweet. They have just 3g net carbs per serving. These gummies don’t have that sticky sugary coating either. Overall an excellent alternative to regular gummy bears.

Sour Blast Buddies

These very sour gummy candies shaped like animals are tasty but intense! The sour sugar coating is mouth-puckering, so brace yourself if you’re sensitive to sour. The texture is a bit more dense than their softer gummies. Guaranteed to satisfy your sweet and sour candy cravings.

Fruity Bears

The Fruity Bears have more of a starch-based, taffy-like texture than a classic gummy. They are fruit flavored (strawberry, pineapple, lemon etc) but many reviewers say the flavors are weak and artificial tasting. Not their most convincing product but a decent lower-sugar candy option.

Sour Gummy Worms

Pretty much what you’d expect – sour sugar coated gummy worms. They have that nice chewy, stretchy texture and an intense sour sugar flavor. Hard-core sour candy fans will enjoy these. The sour flavor could be stronger for some. Otherwise a solid choice for a low-calorie sour gummy candy.

The pros and cons of SmartSweets

Here is a quick rundown of the main benefits and downsides of choosing SmartSweets as a lower sugar candy option:


  • Very low in sugar and calories
  • Does not spike blood sugar
  • Many gluten-free options
  • No artificial sweeteners, colors, or flavors
  • Variety of classic candy shapes and textures
  • Naturally flavored with fruit juices
  • Vegan and vegetarian
  • Non-GMO


  • More expensive than regular candy
  • Contains sugar alcohols that may cause digestive issues
  • Not all candies are gluten-free
  • May leave an aftertaste
  • Still considered a “junk food” with minimal nutrition

Is SmartSweets Keto friendly?

SmartSweets can potentially fit into a ketogenic diet plan, but must be consumed in moderation. The primary ingredients are sugar alcohols like erythritol and stevia which typically don’t impact blood sugar or insulin much. This allows most candies to be low enough in net carbs to remain in ketosis.

For example, a serving of SmartSweets gummy bears has just 5g total carbs, 3g of which are erythritol that doesn’t count as net carbs. So a serving ends up providing only about 2g net carbs, which can likely fit into a keto diet.

However, it’s important not to overdo it on any candy if following keto. Sticking to a single serving size is best, and limiting higher carb products like the peach rings which have 13g carbs per serving.

Do SmartSweets have sugar?

SmartSweets do not contain any added sugars like sucrose, glucose, fructose, etc. Their sweetness comes from non-nutritive sweeteners erythritol and stevia instead. However, they do contain 2-3 grams of natural sugar from fruit juice concentrates.

So while SmartSweets are very low sugar at just 2-3g per serving, they cannot claim to be completely sugar-free. But they are as close as you can get to a no sugar added candy product thanks to the natural sweetener blends they use.


In conclusion, most SmartSweets candy products are gluten-free, making them a good option for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. However, some flavors do contain gluten so checking labels is still important.

SmartSweets achieves its low-sugar nutrition stats through using non-nutritive natural sweeteners like erythritol and stevia instead of added sugars. This results in candies that are much lower in carbs, calories, and sugar than regular candy.

The candies come in a variety of nostalgic shapes and flavors similar to childhood favorites, but re-invented in a healthier way. While not perfect, they provide a convenient low-sugar candy option for those monitoring carbs or who have dietary restrictions.

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