Sugar-free candy does not contain granulated or sugar in the raw, corn syrup or other organic sweeteners that might be called "real" foods. Artificial sweeteners may be manufactured with sugary organic substances as a base. Many people who have diabetes eat sugar-free candy as a healthy substitute for regular sweets. But artificial sweeteners may still add too many grams of sugar per serving. Dieters and diabetic people alike should consult the nutritional contents of the candy and seek medical advice if appropriate.
Types of Artifical Sweeteners
Sugar-free candy is different from regular candy because it contains some form of sugar alternative. Different kinds of artificial sweeteners are used for sugar-free candy. A few common ones are sorbitol, saccharin and aspartame. Sugar substitutes used in sugar-free candy include xylitol, found in sugar-free gum, and lactitol, used in sugar-free chocolates, soft and hard candies and gums. Malitol is also used in sugar-free chocolates. Note the difference between sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners, according to "Sugar Free Candy." Sugar alcohols do contain nutritional sugar and calories. Artificial sweeteners, like saccharin and aspartame, contain no sugar or calories. Sugar alcohols include sorbitol, lactitol and generally any ingredient ending with the suffix "-tol."
Other ingredients in sugar-free candy are generally the same as sugared candy, except that sometimes substitutes or additions are used to make sugar-free candy more similar in texture and appearance to regular candy.
Sugar-free candies come in lots of colors. These colors are made by adding artificial coloring to sugar-free candy ingredients. Artificial dyes may cause allergic reactions and are listed on candy packaging.
Sugar-free candies come in almost every imaginable form of candy. Chocolates may be made with unsweetened cocoa powder. Sugar-free candies may include gum or cornstarch for thickening purposes in items like caramels.
Flavoring additives are virtually limitless and may be artificial or real, used in hard and gel candies. Sugar-free candy flavors may include butterscotch, cinnamon, root beer, fruits like strawberry and other flavors, such as mint.
Sugar-free candies may also contain peanuts, almonds and other nuts. These types of ingredients do not affect the sugar content of the food. Dried fruits do come with sugar and generally are not used in sugar-free candy.