{"id":556856836169,"title":"Smart Sweets Review: Healthier Than Regular Candy?","created_at":"2022-08-18T19:47:09-04:00","body_html":"\u003cscript type=\"application\/ld+json\"\u003e\/\/ \u003c![CDATA[\n{\n \"@context\": \"https:\/\/schema.org\",\n \"@type\": \"Article\",\n \"headline\": \"Smart Sweets Review: Healthier Than Regular Candy?\",\n \"keywords\": \"smart sweets, smart sweets review, smart sweets reviews, smart sweets candy, are smart sweets healthy\",\n \"description\": \"Our research team analyzes the ingredients in Smart Sweets based on published medical studies to determine whether their products are actually healthier than candy or if they just have effective marketing.\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/smart-sweets-review\",\n\"author\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"Calloway Cook\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/calloway-cook\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/calloway-cook\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"President\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"entrepreneurship, dietary supplements, herbal supplements, eCommerce, medical research\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": \"S.I. 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Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University\"\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"editor\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"DJ Mazzoni\",\n \"honorificSuffix\": [\n \"M.S.\",\n \"R.D.\",\n \"C.D.N.\",\n \"C.S.C.S.\"\n ],\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/dj-mazzoni\",\n \"sameAs\": [\n \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/dj-mazzoni-rd-cdn-cscs-00a33038\/\",\n \"http:\/\/djmazzoni.com\/\"\n ],\n \"jobTitle\": \"Medical Reviewer\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"food, nutrition, health, wellness, microbiome, exercise, workouts, strength and conditioning, probiotics, metabolism, obesity, weight loss, science, medical research, clinical trials, cardiovascular health, diet\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": [\n \"State University of New York College Oswego\",\n \"D’Youville College\"\n ]\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"image\": {\n\"@type\": \"ImageObject\",\n\"url\": \"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Smart_Sweets_Thumbnail.png?v=1660866748\",\n\"width\": \"2854\",\n\"height\": \"2854\"\n},\n\"citation\": [\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/26297965\/\", \n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC7008614\/\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/35956407\/\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/20624673\/\",\n\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/best-cbd-gummies\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6097542\/\",\n\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/just-egg-ingredient-review\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/31246081\/\"\n],\n\"mentions\": [{\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"allulose\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"natural flavors\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"citric acid\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"Llama Naturals\"\n }\n],\n\"datePublished\": \"2022-08-18\",\n\"copyrightHolder\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n},\n\"publisher\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/\",\n \"description\": \"Illuminate Labs is the most transparent supplement company in the U.S., and is a leading publisher of research-based health information.\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"supplements, science, nutrition, exercise, health, medication, pharmaceutical, wellness, diet, weight loss, medical research\",\n \"publishingPrinciples\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/editorial-guidelines\",\n \"memberOf\": [\n {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"U.S. Chamber of Commerce\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/www.uschamber.com\/\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Certified B Corp\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/www.bcorporation.net\/en-us\/\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Natural Products Association\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/www.npanational.org\/\"\n }\n ], \n \"logo\": {\n \"@type\": \"ImageObject\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Illuminate_Labs_Favicon_48x48_7595c3cc-e27b-47b8-a4fe-edcc7ed9b29a.png?v=1666502785\", \n \"width\": 48,\n \"height\": 48\n},\n \"foundingDate\": \"2019-01-30\",\n \"Address\": {\n \"@type\": \"PostalAddress\",\n \"streetAddress\": \"50 Union Street, Unit 9\",\n \"addressLocality\": \"Northampton\",\n \"addressRegion\": \"Massachusetts\",\n \"postalCode\": \"01060\",\n \"addressCountry\": \"US\"\n},\n \"sameAs\": [\n \"https:\/\/www.instagram.com\/illuminatelabs\",\n \"https:\/\/twitter.com\/illuminatelabs\",\n \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/company\/illuminate-labs-supplements\",\n \"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/channel\/UCpgSJAsIPb-fZ25djtTxBEA\"\n ]\n }\n}\n\/\/ ]]\u003e\u003c\/script\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Smart_Sweets_Review_Article_Header_Image_Optimized.png?v=1660866662\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eDisclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s) and published for informational purposes only. We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to diet and blood sugar.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cspan class=\"dc\"\u003eS\u003c\/span\u003emart Sweets is a low-sugar candy brand that many consumers believe is a healthier option than regular candy. The brand advertises that their products are free of added sugar and artificial sweeteners, naturally colored and free from common allergens.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eBut is this really possible for a candy brand? What ingredients do they use? We’ll seek to answer these questions and more in our review, and conclude with our thoughts on whether Smart Sweets are really healthier than regular candy.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eWhat Sugar Substitutes Are Used?\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Smart_Sweets_Ingredients.png?v=1660866627\" alt=\"Smart Sweets Sourmelon Bites ingredients\" style=\"display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eNote: ingredients listed above are of Smart Sweets Sourmelon Bites.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eFor any candy product, there needs to be either sugar or a sugar substitute used as a major part of the formulation to create the sweet taste. Smart Sweets uses \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003eallulose\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, which is an excellent and healthy choice in our opinion.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAllulose is a type of sugar found in small quantities in certain foods, which can also be manufactured. A \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/26297965\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e published in 2015 examined the effects of allulose intake on patients with type-2 diabetes. The researchers found that the compound slowed the progression of type-2 diabetes in animal studies, and reduced the blood sugar response to meals in human studies. These are the opposite effects of glucose (table sugar).\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAnother \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC7008614\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e described allulose as a “high value food ingredient” due to its ability to improve the body’s insulin resistance and due to its antioxidant status. The study authors suggested that these effects may exist in nondiabetic patients as well as diabetic patients.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWhile allulose appears to have favorable effects on blood sugar metabolism, especially when compared with processed cane sugar, it may have negative effects on gut function. A \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/35956407\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emeta-study\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e published in the \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eNutrients\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e journal compared the effects of various sweeteners on human health and gut function. They found that allulose caused the most damaging effects, because it showed the ability to increase the effects of disruptions in gut function.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWhile allulose may not be perfect, we still consider it to be an effective choice for a low-sugar candy formulation. It’s important to keep the context of the food product in mind; people aren’t eating candy for their health in any case, and we do consider allulose to be a superior alternative to table sugar in most cases.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eMany Smart Sweets products contain another alternative sweetener called \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003eisomalto-oligosaccharides\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e (which are also technically a prebiotic ingredient). These compounds have been studied in many medical trials, and one \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/20624673\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ereview\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e found that they caused favorable changes to the microbiome (bacterial environment in the gut). Again, this is a beneficial effect when compared with table sugar, which is harmful to gut function.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eStevia leaf extract\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e is another sweetener occasionally used in Smart Sweets. It’s a natural sweetener sourced from the stevia plant, and as we outlined in our review of the \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/best-cbd-gummies\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ebest cbd gummies\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, is a healthy alternative to table sugar.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOverall we consider all of the sugar alternatives used by Smart Sweets to be backed by significant medical research, and all to be healthy options for a candy brand.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eQuestionable Additive Ingredients\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eSmart Sweets contains two ingredients that we generally recommend consumers avoid where possible. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe first is \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003ecitric acid\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, which is a preservative and flavor enhancer that was originally sourced from citrus fruits, but is now commercially manufactured from a type of fungus \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6097542\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eaccording to\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e medical research. The linked study details how in some patients, citric acid may cause whole-body inflammatory reactions.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe don’t believe this ingredient is particularly dangerous and this side effect is likely quite rare, but because citric acid contains essentially no nutritive value it seems logical to avoid it.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eSmart Sweets also contains \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003enatural flavors\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e which is a broad and poorly-regulated term in our opinion. As we referenced in our review of another food brand which contains this ingredient called \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/just-egg-ingredient-review\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eJUST Egg\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, natural flavors may be non-ideal for human health. It’s also concerning that manufacturers are not required to publish the specific chemical compounds used to create the flavor agents.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eGiven how well-researched most of Smart Sweets formulations are, we would assume that the natural flavors used are safe. While we typically recommend that consumers avoid the two ingredients outlined in this section, we consider these ingredients to be much less concerning than the ingredients in most commercial candy formulations such as artificial flavors and artificial food dye, along with significant amounts of processed sugar.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eOther Comparisons to Regular Candy\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThere are a few other categories that Smart Sweets outperforms regular candy. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOne is their coloring agents. Smart Sweets uses whole foods ingredients to create their product color, such as \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003espirulina extract\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e and \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003efruit and vegetable juice\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e (in the case of their lollipops). These ingredients provide micronutrients and are safer and healthier options than artificial food dye.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eSmart Sweets are also much lower in sugar than commercial candies. We previously discussed the \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003etypes\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e of sweeteners used, but haven’t yet discussed the quantity of sugar used.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eMost Smart Sweets products contain under 4 grams (g) of sugar. Their Cola Gummies contain only 3 g of sugar and their Jolly Gems contain only 1 g of sugar. As a comparison, one bag of Skittles contains 45 g of sugar. We know \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/31246081\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003efrom medical research\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e that excessive added sugar intake is associated with a wide range of negative health outcomes, so this is the main reason why we consider Smart Sweets to be much healthier than regular candy.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eOur Healthy Sweets Recommendation\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Llama_Naturals_Product_Image_Optimized.png?v=1660866590\" alt=\"Llama Naturals product shot\" style=\"display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWhile we consider Smart Sweets to be a much healthier option than regular candy, we would recommend \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"http:\/\/llamanaturals.sjv.io\/ZdAqxR\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eLlama Naturals\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e as a healthy sweet over Smart Sweets.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eLlama Naturals makes whole fruit gummies that taste just like candy, but are made with organic strawberries, organic apples and organic baobab powder. Their products are free of citric acid, and contain organic flavor rather than natural flavor, which is a higher standard of safety and purity based on our research.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eLlama Naturals sells an \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/llamanaturals.sjv.io\/BXMBz9\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eelderberry immunity gummy\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, a \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/llamanaturals.sjv.io\/WDkg63\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003epeach mango pre-and-probiotic\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, and more. These products are also significantly cheaper per serving than Smart Sweets.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOne serving of Llama Naturals elderberry gummies costs \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003e$0.83\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, while Smart Sweets bags like Cola Gummies and Sourmelon Bites cost over $3 per serving. The Smart Sweets gummies do have larger servings though.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eSmart Sweets Real User Review\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOne of the most popular YouTube reviews of Smart Sweet comes from a channel called “Nicole Hoskens” who is a dietitian. She does a taste test of the candies and breaks down some of the ingredients:\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003ciframe width=\"560\" height=\"315\" src=\"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/embed\/PdThlVQLrow\" title=\"YouTube video player\" frameborder=\"0\" allow=\"accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture\" allowfullscreen=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/iframe\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eSmart Sweets Pros and Cons\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eHere’s our take on the pros and cons of this brand:\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch3\u003e\u003cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003ePros\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\n\u003cul\u003e\n\u003cli style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eLower sugar than candy\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\n\u003cli style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eNatural coloring agents\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\n\u003cli style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eEffective sugar substitutes\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\n\u003cli style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eHealthier than candy\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\n\u003c\/ul\u003e\n\u003ch3\u003e\u003cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eCons\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\n\u003cul\u003e\n\u003cli style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eTwo questionable additive ingredients\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\n\u003cli style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eSome products can be expensive per-serving \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\n\u003c\/ul\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eConclusion\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe’re impressed with the ingredients Smart Sweets uses to manufacture healthier candy alternatives. While we would recommend avoiding candy entirely if the goal is optimizing health, we would recommend Smart Sweets over pretty much any commercial candy brand.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe believe that Llama Naturals is an even healthier sweets option than Smart Sweets, given that this gummy brand uses organic fruits for the sweetener, and is free of citric acid, but both are good options.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e","blog_id":49281925193,"author":"Calloway Cook","user_id":26601750601,"published_at":"2022-08-18T19:56:51-04:00","updated_at":"2022-10-23T01:43:51-04:00","summary_html":"We analyze the ingredients in low-sugar candy brand Smart Sweets based on published medical studies to determine whether their products are actually healthier than candy or if they just have effective marketing.","template_suffix":"","handle":"smart-sweets-review","tags":"_related:nutrition"}

Smart Sweets Review: Healthier Than Regular Candy?

Smart Sweets Review: Healthier Than Regular Candy?


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Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s) and published for informational purposes only. We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to diet and blood sugar.

Smart Sweets is a low-sugar candy brand that many consumers believe is a healthier option than regular candy. The brand advertises that their products are free of added sugar and artificial sweeteners, naturally colored and free from common allergens.

But is this really possible for a candy brand? What ingredients do they use? We’ll seek to answer these questions and more in our review, and conclude with our thoughts on whether Smart Sweets are really healthier than regular candy.

What Sugar Substitutes Are Used?

Smart Sweets Sourmelon Bites ingredients

Note: ingredients listed above are of Smart Sweets Sourmelon Bites.

For any candy product, there needs to be either sugar or a sugar substitute used as a major part of the formulation to create the sweet taste. Smart Sweets uses allulose, which is an excellent and healthy choice in our opinion.

Allulose is a type of sugar found in small quantities in certain foods, which can also be manufactured. A medical review published in 2015 examined the effects of allulose intake on patients with type-2 diabetes. The researchers found that the compound slowed the progression of type-2 diabetes in animal studies, and reduced the blood sugar response to meals in human studies. These are the opposite effects of glucose (table sugar).

Another medical review described allulose as a “high value food ingredient” due to its ability to improve the body’s insulin resistance and due to its antioxidant status. The study authors suggested that these effects may exist in nondiabetic patients as well as diabetic patients.

While allulose appears to have favorable effects on blood sugar metabolism, especially when compared with processed cane sugar, it may have negative effects on gut function. A meta-study published in the Nutrients journal compared the effects of various sweeteners on human health and gut function. They found that allulose caused the most damaging effects, because it showed the ability to increase the effects of disruptions in gut function.

While allulose may not be perfect, we still consider it to be an effective choice for a low-sugar candy formulation. It’s important to keep the context of the food product in mind; people aren’t eating candy for their health in any case, and we do consider allulose to be a superior alternative to table sugar in most cases.

Many Smart Sweets products contain another alternative sweetener called isomalto-oligosaccharides (which are also technically a prebiotic ingredient). These compounds have been studied in many medical trials, and one review found that they caused favorable changes to the microbiome (bacterial environment in the gut). Again, this is a beneficial effect when compared with table sugar, which is harmful to gut function.

Stevia leaf extract is another sweetener occasionally used in Smart Sweets. It’s a natural sweetener sourced from the stevia plant, and as we outlined in our review of the best cbd gummies, is a healthy alternative to table sugar.

Overall we consider all of the sugar alternatives used by Smart Sweets to be backed by significant medical research, and all to be healthy options for a candy brand.

Questionable Additive Ingredients

Smart Sweets contains two ingredients that we generally recommend consumers avoid where possible. 

The first is citric acid, which is a preservative and flavor enhancer that was originally sourced from citrus fruits, but is now commercially manufactured from a type of fungus according to medical research. The linked study details how in some patients, citric acid may cause whole-body inflammatory reactions.

We don’t believe this ingredient is particularly dangerous and this side effect is likely quite rare, but because citric acid contains essentially no nutritive value it seems logical to avoid it.

Smart Sweets also contains natural flavors which is a broad and poorly-regulated term in our opinion. As we referenced in our review of another food brand which contains this ingredient called JUST Egg, natural flavors may be non-ideal for human health. It’s also concerning that manufacturers are not required to publish the specific chemical compounds used to create the flavor agents.

Given how well-researched most of Smart Sweets formulations are, we would assume that the natural flavors used are safe. While we typically recommend that consumers avoid the two ingredients outlined in this section, we consider these ingredients to be much less concerning than the ingredients in most commercial candy formulations such as artificial flavors and artificial food dye, along with significant amounts of processed sugar.

Other Comparisons to Regular Candy

There are a few other categories that Smart Sweets outperforms regular candy. 

One is their coloring agents. Smart Sweets uses whole foods ingredients to create their product color, such as spirulina extract and fruit and vegetable juice (in the case of their lollipops). These ingredients provide micronutrients and are safer and healthier options than artificial food dye.

Smart Sweets are also much lower in sugar than commercial candies. We previously discussed the types of sweeteners used, but haven’t yet discussed the quantity of sugar used.

Most Smart Sweets products contain under 4 grams (g) of sugar. Their Cola Gummies contain only 3 g of sugar and their Jolly Gems contain only 1 g of sugar. As a comparison, one bag of Skittles contains 45 g of sugar. We know from medical research that excessive added sugar intake is associated with a wide range of negative health outcomes, so this is the main reason why we consider Smart Sweets to be much healthier than regular candy.

Our Healthy Sweets Recommendation

Llama Naturals product shot

While we consider Smart Sweets to be a much healthier option than regular candy, we would recommend Llama Naturals as a healthy sweet over Smart Sweets.

Llama Naturals makes whole fruit gummies that taste just like candy, but are made with organic strawberries, organic apples and organic baobab powder. Their products are free of citric acid, and contain organic flavor rather than natural flavor, which is a higher standard of safety and purity based on our research.

Llama Naturals sells an elderberry immunity gummy, a peach mango pre-and-probiotic, and more. These products are also significantly cheaper per serving than Smart Sweets.

One serving of Llama Naturals elderberry gummies costs $0.83, while Smart Sweets bags like Cola Gummies and Sourmelon Bites cost over $3 per serving. The Smart Sweets gummies do have larger servings though.

Smart Sweets Real User Review

One of the most popular YouTube reviews of Smart Sweet comes from a channel called “Nicole Hoskens” who is a dietitian. She does a taste test of the candies and breaks down some of the ingredients:

Smart Sweets Pros and Cons

Here’s our take on the pros and cons of this brand:

Pros

  • Lower sugar than candy
  • Natural coloring agents
  • Effective sugar substitutes
  • Healthier than candy

Cons

  • Two questionable additive ingredients
  • Some products can be expensive per-serving 
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Conclusion

We’re impressed with the ingredients Smart Sweets uses to manufacture healthier candy alternatives. While we would recommend avoiding candy entirely if the goal is optimizing health, we would recommend Smart Sweets over pretty much any commercial candy brand.

We believe that Llama Naturals is an even healthier sweets option than Smart Sweets, given that this gummy brand uses organic fruits for the sweetener, and is free of citric acid, but both are good options.




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