Are Fruit Snacks Actually Healthy for You?

Almost every child in America loves to eat fruit snacks.  Fruit snacks are gummy treats that are advertised as a healthier option to gummy candy. But are they actually healthier?  

Has Any Actual Fruit Been Used?

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) would like to see the FDA clear up misleading labels.  For example, many of fruit snacks packages will say, “made with real fruit” yet hardly any fruit was used in the product.  In fact, the FDA does not regulate how much of an actual fruit must be used in a product for it to claim it “contains real fruit”.  While a trace amount of fruit may have been used in the manufacturing process, sugar, corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners, are most likely what the children enjoy eating.

Tooth Decay

If you talk to any dentist, they will tell you to avoid all sweet, sticky foods like caramels, taffy, and anything gummy. Because these products have lots of sugar and stick to the teeth, they can cause tooth decay. The key part is the stickiness of gummy candy and fruit snacks adheres the sugar to the teeth and doesn’t brush away easily.  

Food Coloring

Nearly all fruit snacks contain food coloring and dyes. The dyes that are particularly harmful are yellow 40, red 5, and blue 1, all of which have been linked to hyperactivity and behavior problems in children.

Artery Clogging Trans Fats

Many manufactures of fruit snacks use partially hydrogenated oils to make the snack itself.   Many studies have shown the adverse health effects of trans fat in the form of partially hydrogenated oils.

Protein (or Lack There of)

Whenever I recommend that my clients consume a food, always make sure protein is present. Because our bodies need so much protein, we need to consume it virtually every time we eat. Fruit snacks have 0 protein in them.  In addition to the protein your body needs to function optimally, protein also fills you up. If there is no protein, its hard to get “full” on fruit snacks...hence you can keep eating them without ever satisfying your hunger craving.   Not to mention the spike in blood sugars that will result in additional weight gain.

What can you do?

Instead of eating fruit snacks, maybe, just maybe, use real fruit? Instead of purchasing a packaged imitation fruit product full of trans fats, food coloring, and sugar, consume a piece of fruit that grew in nature. Understand that little to no fruit was used to make the snack. Having the sugar adhering to the teeth from fruit snacks is something every dentist would love to see disappear from our children’s diet. Besides, if nature intended us to consume fruit snacks, the pouches would be growing on trees.

 

Steven Zahn

ACE Certified Personal Trainer

NASM Certified Personal Trainer

Pre and Post Partum Certified

Dragondoor Publications: HKC Russian Kettlebell Certified

Szahn@lifetimefitness.com

 

For information on 1on1 Personal Training or Nutrition Coaching, feel feel free to contact me at szahn@lifetimefitness.com.

2 comments
  • Franklin Pruitt
    Franklin Pruitt
    4 followers
    Always saw the health of these things as a myth. They only seem to get more and more popular.
    May 17
  • Carl Kaine
    Carl Kaine
    14 followers
    Those Scooby Doo snacks are so good! Guess I should have looked at the label.
    May 17