Are Tic Tacs Bad for You? An Ingredient Analysis

Are Tic Tacs Bad for You? An Ingredient Analysis


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Tic Tac is one of the most famous candy brands in the US. The products are available at many convenience and grocery stores, and contain zero calories per serving.

But how can a mint containing sugar have zero calories? What other ingredients are in Tic Tacs and are they bad for you? And which flavor is the healthiest?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze the ingredients in Tic Tacs based on medical studies to give our take on whether this brand is bad for you or not.

We’ll give our opinion on which Tic Tac flavor is the healthiest and why, and highlight our top healthy snack pick.

Ingredient Analysis

Tic Tac Orange ingredients

The ingredients in the Orange flavor of Tic Tacs are shown above.

Sugar is the first ingredient, and a 2019 medical review suggests that added sugar in excess is associated with increased risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. 

But if sugar is the first ingredient, how can Tic Tacs claim to provide zero calories?

The answer has to do with serving size. Tic Tacs have a serving size of one single piece, even though a container has 38 pieces. So while the brand can list 0 calories per mint, the total container can have over 180 calories according to MyFitnessPal.

Artificial flavors were shown to cause toxic effects to animals in a 2013 clinical trial, and the researchers concluded that “...it is advisable to limit the uses of these food colorants and/or food flavor additives especially those used by children.”

Natural flavors are a healthier option than artificial flavors, but still may have unhealthy effects in humans as we discussed in our article on is Fresca bad for you.

Yellow 6 is an artificial colorant found to be contaminated with carcinogens in a 2012 medical review.

Overall, we consider Tic Tacs to be bad for you because they’re essentially a blend of sugar and flavoring additives with no nutritional value.

But which flavor is the healthiest option? We’ll answer that question in the next section of this article.

Which Tic Tac Flavor is the Healthiest?

Tic Tac Freshmint ingredients

The ingredients in Tic Tac Freshmints are shown above.

This flavor still contains sugar, artificial flavors and natural flavors, all ingredients we consider questionable from a health perspective.

However, it’s entirely free of artificial colors, making it the healthiest Tic Tac flavor in our opinion. Every other flavor that we came across on the brand’s website while researching this article contained artificial color(s).

So while we don’t recommend Tic Tacs overall from a nutritional perspective, we would recommend this flavor over others for consumers intent on purchasing from the brand.

Our Healthy Sweets Recommendation

Our top healthy sweets brand is Daily Harvest Scoops.

This meal delivery service sells ice cream made entirely with whole food ingredients like dark chocolate (which is clinically shown to support heart and brain health) and chaga (which is clinically shown to have anti-cancer and blood sugar supporting benefits).

There are no unhealthy additive ingredients like artificial sweeteners or artificial dyes in this product, and they taste great, too (we've tried them).

Interested consumers can check out Daily Harvest Scoops at this link to the product page on the brand's official website.

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Tic Tacs are convenient and tasty, but may not be the healthiest option given that their first ingredient is refined sugar.

We don’t consider Tic Tacs to be a good dieting option either, because while they provide 0 calories per serving, they provide over 100 calories per container due to a labeling discrepancy. Most people do not eat one single Tic Tac and that serving size seems unfair to consumers in our opinion.

Freshmints is the healthiest Tic Tac flavor because it’s free of artificial colors.

Beyond sugar, most Tic Tac flavors also contain artificial flavors, natural flavors and one or more artificial colors.