Will Sugar-Free Candy Stall My Weight Loss?

Many people have a difficult time giving up chocolate and candy while trying to lose weight. But a lot of people have discovered a solution! Sugar-free candy and chocolate seem like a great option for a sweet-toothed individual that’s looking to drop some pounds.

But will sugar-free candies stall your weight loss? And isn’t “fake sugar” bad for you?

There are definitely some obvious advantages to choosing sugar-free options:

  • They’re better for your teeth.
  • They can be lower in calories and carbohydrates.
  • They don’t spike blood sugar as much.

Still, there are limits to the amount of sugar-free candy you should have. Just like having too much of any other food, having too much sugar-free candy can stall weight loss. Still, if you keep portion sizes in mind and keep your consumption moderate, sugar-free candy can definitely be part of a weight loss diet, and a great alternative to traditional sugared treats.

Here’s what you should know about sugar-free candy and how it might affect weight loss.

Beware of the Health Halo Effect

The health halo effect is a well-known effect that happens when people choose a food that has some sort of positive health characteristic. They then tend to eat more of that food than they normally would have because they think it’s good for them. The overall effect is that they end up with a less healthy meal or snack than they would have otherwise.

In this case, the positive health characteristic is that the candy is sugar-free. It’s also often lower in carbs and sometimes lower in calories. The health halo effect might lead you to eat unlimited quantities of your sugar-free candy choice, and that can stall weight loss since you’ll still be getting calories. You can avoid the health halo effect by being aware of what you’re eating and keeping portions to reasonable amounts.

Sugar Alcohols and Upset Stomach

Another reason to eat sugar-free candy in moderation only is that many of them are made with sugar alcohols. Some, such as maltitol and sorbitol, can lead to an upset stomach and diarrhea if you have too much of them. The best way to avoid this is to have just a small serving to start, and see how your stomach feels.

Still, sugar alcohols are natural and they don’t seem to have any long-term health problems. Some do have calories and carbs, though they don’t spike blood sugar. Xylitol may help protect teeth.

Can Artificial Sweeteners Affect Weight?

There’s another concern with artificial sweeteners. It seems as though they may increase the insulin response. Eventually, they may increase hunger or insulin resistance. Also, some have been suspected of causing cancer if you eat very high quantities of them. Aspartame is an example of an artificial sweetener.

Natural Sweeteners in Sugar-Free Candies

Sugar alcohols are common natural sweeteners in sugar-free candies. Monk fruit and stevia are also natural sweeteners. They are free from calories and carbohydrates, and there aren’t known health risks of them.

Serving Size of Sugar-Free Candies

One of the most important things you can do when eating sugar-free candy is to be mindful of the portion that you eat. A reasonable portion size can help with the following.

  • Limit calorie and carb consumption to levels that fit within your weight loss diet.
  • Reduce the chance of having stomach discomfort due to any sugar alcohols.
  • Keep you within a safe level of consumption of any artificial sweeteners that you are consuming according to guidelines set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) based on safety studies.

Eight Sugar-Free Candies with Natural Sweeteners You Should Try

Interested in trying out some sugar-free options? No matter what kind of candy you’re into, Netrition has tons of sugar-free choices. Here are a few of our favorites.

  • Lakanto Sugar-Free AlmondsThese chocolate covered almonds are sweetened with monk fruit and erythritol. Each bag has 4 servings, and each serving has 140 calories and only 2 grams of net carbs. They’re dairy free. Other Lakanto candy choices, also sweetened with monk fruit and erythritol, are the following.
  • Russell Stover Sugar Free Peg CandyThis old favorite now comes in versions without sugar or artificial sweeteners. Instead, they have stevia. Each 2-piece serving of classic Chocolate Covered Caramels has 110 calories and 2 grams of net carbs. They come in a 3-ounce bag. There are several options:
    • Chocolate Covered Coconut
    • Chocolate Truffle
    • Dark Pecan Delights
    • Peanut Butter Cups
    • Mint Patties
    • Strawberry Flavored Creme
    • Chocolate Covered Toffee

    There are many to choose from, so it may help if you just opt for a Sugar-Free Variety Pack with a mixture of five favorites. 

  • Hershey’s ClassicsHere’s another lineup of classic favorite candies, but without sugar. These are sweetened with maltitol and sucralose, and are free from aspartame. They have 3 grams of dietary fiber and 1 gram of net carbs per 3-piece serving, along with 110 calories. Some of the sugar-free takes on classic favorites: 
  • Krunchy Melts Sugar-Free MeringuesThese are a combination of candies and cookies that melt in your mouth. They’re sweetened with stevia and have only 30 calories per 10-cookie serving. Best of all, they’re sure to come in a flavor you love. 
    • Cappuccino
    • Chocolate
    • Dulce de Leche
    • Key Lime
    • Lemon
    • Strawberry
    • Tangerine
    • Vanilla
    • Wild Cherry

    There are 4 servings per container, but no judgment or harm done to your waistline if you eat the whole container. They have zero net carbs!

  • TwizzlersThat’s right, you can have this chewy childhood favorite without spiking blood sugar or harming teeth. They’re still fat-free, but they have only 7 grams of net carbs and 80 calories in a 4-piece serving. There are 5 servings per bag. You can also choose American Licorice Company Sugar Free Red Vines in Black Licorice and Strawberry Flavors. They’re sweetened with maltitol.

  • Russell Stover Sugar-Free Jelly BeansEnjoy your favorite flavors in a sugar-free recipe that is aspartame-free. You get 26 pieces per serving, and only 3 grams of net carbs and 80 calories. Each bag has 7 servings.

  • Brach’s Sugar-Free Hard CandyYet another classic candy can be back in your daily life! Brach’s hard candy in Butterscotch and Cinnamon flavors has 0 grams of net carbs and 35 calories in a 3-piece serving. There are 6 servings per bag.

  • Ice Chips Sugar Free CandyThis can be the right choice if you just want something in your mouth that doesn’t hurt your teeth or waistline. It could even be healthy for your teeth, since these ice chips are sweetened with xylitol. There are 50 pieces per tin and each serving is 2 pieces. It has 5 calories and 0 grams of net carbs. There are a ton of flavors!
    • Berry Mix
    • Chocolate Brownie
    • Cinnamon
    • Cranberry 
    • Ginger
    • Peppermint
    • Pumpkin Spice
    • Root Beer Float
    • Salted Caramel
    • Strawberry Daiquiri
    • Wintergreen
    • Sour Cherry
    • Pina Colada
    Diet and weight lossSugar-free candies