What Has More Sugar: Fruit Snacks or Gummy Bears?

A recent study conducted in the United Kingdom revealed that 85% of fruit snacks sold in the country contained more sugar than gummy bears. A single serving of these snacks had 14.6 grams of sugar, while a serving of strawberries only had 7 grams. This has caused parents and health groups to express their concern about the deceptive marketing of these snacks as fruit. In response, some companies have improved their ingredients and new companies have introduced their most nutritious versions.

Some brands are made with only dried fruit or fruit puree as the first ingredient, while others have reduced the sugar content per serving and use natural, organic flavorings instead of food colors. All fruit snacks are inherently lower in calories, lower in sodium and contain no fat or cholesterol, but so do chewable candies such as gummy bears. Some fruit snacks even meet the requirements of the School Nutrition Guidelines for vending machines, since real fruit is the first ingredient and the sugar, calorie and sodium content is below a specified level. While some fruit snacks are prepared with fruit juice, it is not in a significant amount.

Some are made with fruit juice concentrate, which is more of a sweetener than real fruit. It is important to note that fruit snacks should not be considered a serving of fruit since they don't have the fiber or texture of real fruit. Therefore, children who eat these snacks are not learning to like fruits; they are learning to like gummies. Fruit snacks are a type of gummy snack made with fruit flavoring and natural jelly.

They were first created by pastry chef Louis Shalhoub in the 1970s as a light, high-energy snack for backpackers. Although they are marketed as a healthier alternative to regular gummy candies, this is sometimes considered false advertising since they contain fruit flavorings instead of real fruit (although some brands do use fruit juice or puree) and have a high content of added sugar, more comparable to that of a typical candy. More than half the weight of these snacks consists of simple sugars and they also contain an average of 12% water by weight, 25% starch, a small amount of fat and a negligible amount of protein. One serving of this snack only contains 50 calories and 7 grams of sugar, which is less than other gummies. They are light and easy to chew and neither the fruit nor vegetable snacks were too sweet; they still tasted like a great harmony of vegetables and fruits.

By comparison, Haribo's golden bears (also known as gummy bears) contain 46 percent sugar, so they are quite similar. However, this particular snack does not contain gelatin, which is great but could be why the texture is a bit flat compared to some other gummies. It is important to understand that fruit snacks are not a substitute for real fruit. Nutritionists have rated them as slightly better than gummies but adults can confirm that healthier versions of sugary treats are better for belly fat, type 2 diabetes or just general health as one ages. If you're looking for more information on sugary snacks, check out The Worst Candies You Should Never Eat.