Guess the Food: Sugar Free!


Guess the Food: Sugar Free!

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Let me start off by saying that this guess the food is really hard.  I think it may be one of the harder ones I’ve ever done.

That said, I’m sure someone will get it before lunch.

Anyway, the reason that this “food” caught my eye was because it was plastered with huge labels about how it was “Sugar Free.”  I don’t think that I’m giving away too much by saying that this is clearly a candy of some sort so the fact that it’s “Sugar free” is kind of baffling to me.

It’s plenty sweet after all so where’s that sweetness coming from?

It turns out that it’s a fancy little chemistry trick that’s used often in sugar free foods that I’ve never really talked about before in a guess the food.

Sugar Alcohol

As you can see, there’s a nice explanation in tiny print on the packaging about where the sweetness comes from.

There are a huge list of these sugar alcohols that food manufacturers can use in place of sucrose which is what is typically used when sugar is in the food.  The benefits of using sugar alcohols are a few:

  1. They can print sugar free on the label.  That’s some serious marketing power because people associate sugar with obesity and diabetes.
  2. There are generally less calories in sugar alcohols than in sucrose.  For example, a gram of sorbitol (the sugar alcohol used in this food) has 2.6 calories per gram while sucrose has 4.
  3. Sugar alcohols are metabolized much slower so there’s not really a spike in blood sugar after eating them.

Of course, these benefits come with a list of disadvantages.

  1. I think that sugar free products sometimes have an off taste.  If they don’t balance the sweeteners and sugar alcohols perfectly (which is rare), I think you can tell a big difference in taste.
  2. Sugar alcohols tend to be not as sweet as sucrose so more needs to be used.  This can negate the benefit of them having less calories per gram.
  3. If you eat more of a sugar free item because you think it’s somehow better for you, you will still get fat.
  4. Bloating, gas, and diarrhea.  Sugar alcohols aren’t digested completely and this leads to a whole host of intestinal issues.
So you maybe save a few calories and won’t see your blood sugar spike, but the candy might not taste great and you’ll be super-farty.
Pick your poison I guess.

Nutrition Facts

As you can see from the nutritional facts, just because something is sugar free does not mean that it’s calorie free.

Most of the calories in this food are coming from fat though, not the carbohydrates.

This is a candy after all so I don’t expect to see a super-healthy nutritional facts list.

The only thing I’ll point out is that if you were to eat a whole bag of these (not hard) then you would get over 80% of your recommended daily saturated fat intake.  That’s pretty substantial.

The key thing to remember about foods like this is that while they are sugar free, that doesn’t mean they are completely free.

It’s still candy.


Ok.  Onto the ingredient list.  Maybe there will be some hints here to help you guess the food!  While there are a lot of sub-ingredients, there are really only five things in this food.

Dark Chocolate – Dark chocolate sounds good and is actually considered to be a pretty healthy chocolate.  I wouldn’t consider this a great dark chocolate though.  They use an artificial vanilla flavor instead of natural vanilla for starters.  Maltitol, which is the first ingredient in this dark chocolate is another sugar alcohol sweetener.

Pastel Coating –  I don’t want to trick you guys here.  This is not a pastel colored food.  I think this is actually the filling for this candy.  I’m not sure why it’s called a coating, but it seems like it’s an emulsified, fatty mixture.  It has some milk in it and that fake vanilla stuff again.  Plus there’s more Maltitol!  Plenty of Maltitol to go around!

Maltitol Syrup –  Just straight up maltitol!  Interestingly, in other countries there has to be a warning on stuff with maltitol about a possible laxative effect.  Not true in the US.  Generally though, if you eat more than 100 grams of maltitol in one day, you might not want to go on an extended road trip.

Sorbitol – More sugar alcohol for you with pretty much the same list of disadvantages as Maltitol.

Peppermint Oil – Definitely the most pronounced flavor in this candy in my opinion.  Straight up peppermint.  Good for the holidays!

Of course, I did try one of these candies and I must say that I thought it tasted fine.  It tasted pretty much like its sugar counterpart, but I thought it was not quite as sweet.

Personally though, I’m way more concerned with a “laxative effect” than I am about a few extra calories.

That’s not really the issue though.  The issue is…

Can you Guess the Food?

25 Responses to “Guess the Food: Sugar Free!” Leave a comment

  1. Russell Stover Sugar Free dark chocolate candy. Not sure which one, but that’s all I got!

  2. Definitely peppermint patties. Not sure if it’s the Sugar Free York or the previously mentioned Russell Stover.

    1. I note that that nutritional panel on the LiveStrong website does not exactly match the nutritional panel image in the post. Are we sure? “:-)

      1. It looked like it had the “America’s Favorite…” on the pic of the bag I found elsewhere…

  3. And, most importantly, to burn off the 180 calories, you could do judo for 16 minutes, light child care (standing) for 53 minutes, or Coal mining for 2646 minutes.

    1. I’m not revealing the answer yet, but that’s hysterical. I always thought coal mining to be an excellent workout!

  4. Well, it looks like the rest of you are better at this. Chocolate with mint flavoring is as good as I get. Don’t buy sugar free stuff, figure eating a smaller amount of the real stuff is the lesser of the two evils. Weird abt the coal mining, its a very physical work, isn’t it?

    1. Well, I don’t think it is terribly accurate. It said on another item that you could burn the calories (around 100) with 43 min of personal grooming or 16000+ min of moderate sex, so I’m not sure where they are pulling it from!!!

      1. Experts nowadays recommend short bursts of high intensity sex followed by a short recovery period of low intensity sex and continue to alternate between the two for 20 minutes a day, three days a week.

      2. Hey, I’m 64 years old, and they don’t manufacture enough danged Viagra in a year to allow me 16000 minutes of “moderate” sex, much less alternating between high intensity and low intensity for 20 minutes a day for three days a week! The best I can hope for is that sugar free peppermint patties are an aphrodisiac!!! ;)

  5. Nick, your “pick your poison” comment was so hilarious, it had me laughing out loud here in the office! I better be careful about where I read your posts. :-)

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