Dietribes / Flavour of the Week

Food Fight! Trick-or-Treat Edition


It’s that time of year again – temptation in every cupboard! Last Halloween in Unmasking Candy we debunked the notion that ANY added sugar in your diet is tantamount to health disaster – looks like 10% or less of daily calories from added sugar doesn’t seem to have a negative impact on overall health, as long as you are eating an otherwise healthy diet (always the caveat!).

The big problem? Ten percent of your daily calories sneaks up pretty fast when those little packages of Halloween candy are around!

Let’s go with convention and assume most women and men require ~ 1800 calories and 2350 calories, respectively, to maintain their weight. Those numbers don’t leave a whole lot of room for delicious Halloween candy! We’re not about to say ANY Halloween treats are virtuous, but certainly there is a lesser of the evils available*? 

PEANUT LOVERS: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups vs. Snickers vs. Peanut M&Ms

With fewer calories and less saturated fat, Snickers is the clear choice if you like the combo of peanuts and chocolate, edging out Peanut M&Ms based on slightly less saturated fat.

Last place? Not surprisingly (but still sadly), Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were the worst of the bunch, with 80 calories and a whopping 55 mg of sodium.

LICORICE: Twizzlers vs. Nibs

Pretty much dead even with 40 – 45 kcal per package and minimal fat (you don’t metabolize the mineral oil in the licorice…), we thought this one would be a easy tie BUT Nibs take it with a third less sodium.

Sure, 60 mg of sodium in a mini bag of Twizzlers doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it all adds up!

CRISPY WAFERS: Coffee Crisp vs. Twix vs. Kit Kat

You would think wafer-based chocolate bars would be lower in calories and fat than their nut and nougat-filled brethren… but not the case.

Each of these contain 2 g of saturated fat per package, but we give the win to Twix with a measly 10 fewer calories than the competition.

CANDY COATED: Smarties vs. M&Ms

Easy win for Smarties – fewer calories and less saturated fat, sugar and sodium. Simple (and shellac-ed) as that.

CHEWY GUMMIES: Dots vs. Maynard’s Sour Patch Kids

Despite the sugary exterior, Sour Patch Kids come out on top here (as do all Maynard’s Halloween-sized candies like Fuzzy Peaches, Swedish Berries and Wine Gums) due to 20% fewer calories and less sugar than the mini gumdrops.

PLAIN OL’ CHOCOLATEY: Tootsie Roll vs. Aero

Both melt in your mouth (eventually), and although Aero contains only 40 calories vs. the 50 calories in a Tootsie Roll, we are going for the nostalgic win with Tootsie Rolls because they contain negligible saturated fat.

No Baloney’s advice? 10 percent of your daily calories works out to only 180 to 235 calories… so we suggest you make it worth it. Don’t waste calories choking down those awful grey-tinged candies that NO ONE likes. Have a safe and happy Halloween!

*All treat battles are based on Halloween-sized portions, usually about 13 grams, NOT the full size candy bars/packages, which would be a different story!

Snickers: 60 calories, 1 g sat fat, 7 g sugar, 30 mg sodium
Peanut M&Ms: 70 calories, 1.5 g sat fat, 7 g sugar, 5 m sodium
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup: 80 calories, 2 g sat fat, 8 g sugar, 55 mg sodium
Nibs: 45 calories, 0.2 g sat fat, 6 g sugar, 20 mg sodium
Twizzlers: 40 calories, 0.1 g sat fat, 5 g sugar, 60 mg sodium
Smarties: 45 calories, 1 g sat fat, 7 g sugar, 5 mg sodium
M&Ms: 60 calories, 2 g sat fat, 8 g sugar, 10 mg sodium
Twix: 50 calories, 2 g sat fat, 5 g sugar, 20 mg sodium
Kit Kat: 60 calories, 2 g sat fat, 6 g sugar, 10 mg sodium
Coffee Crisp: 60 calories, 2 g sat fat, 4 g sugar, 10 mg sodium
Sour Patch Kids: 45 calories, 0 g sat fat, 9 g sugar, 10 mg sodium
Dots: 70 calories, 0 g sat fat, 11 g sugar, 5 mg sodium
Tootsie Roll: 50 calories, 0 g sat fat, 8 g sugar, 3 mg sodium
Aero: 40 calories, 1.5 g sat fat, 4 g sugar, 7 mg sodium
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