Lifestyle | Food Features

Low FODMAP Candy for Halloween

Low FODMAP Candy for Halloween

Halloween is upon us and that means candy. Candy here, candy there, candy everywhere.

Now it could be debated that costumes are the main excitement associated with Halloween, but we disagree and here’s why.

Low FODMAP Candy for Halloween - what candy can I eat when following the low FODMAP diet?

You’re Gonna Eat Candy!

Whether you dress up in a costume or not, chances are you are going to encounter and probably eat at least one piece of Halloween candy.

Folks set out bowls at work on their desks, in the break room, at parties, at checkout counters, the bank, your hairdresser – everywhere! – and before you were FODMAPing you probably didn’t think twice. You ate the candy.

Maybe you ate a little, maybe a lot, but you probably didn’t think much about the consequences other than possible weight gain and dental visits.

Now you have an IBS diagnosis, you are following the low FODMAP diet, and Halloween is here. 

What do you do?


What Halloween Candy Can I Eat?

We are going to make this easy for you. No judgments. We know you want to eat candy.

Dédé and Monash trained RD Vanessa Cobarubbia have compiled a list of low(er) FODMAP candies for you below, but first, we make one formal plea: please try and limit yourself.

One each of 10 different “approved” candies is NOT going to sit well.

We suggest limiting sugar intake to 25 to 50 grams total at one serving, erring on the side of caution if your typical diet is low in sugar. Follow your gut, as they say!


How Much Sugar is Too Much Sugar?

Looking at sugar from a FODMAP perspective there is no evidence that a certain threshold of sugar can trigger IBS symptoms, however, consuming a huge bag of candy will make most anyone’s gut ache – IBS sufferer or not.

From a general health perspective it is recommended to limit added sugars, which includes candy, soda, pastries, or anything with sugar added; this does not include the sugars naturally occurring in milk or fruit.

Both the World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines and Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 – 2020 recommend adults and children to reduce their daily intake of added sugars to less than 10% of their daily calorie intake. 

Based on a 2,000 calorie a day diet this would equate to 50 grams of sugar per day. A further reduction to 5% or below (of a 2000 calorie/day diet) or 25 grams per day is encouraged by both WHO and the AHA.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting added sugars to less than 100 calories per day (about 6 teaspoons or 25 gram of sugar) for women and 150 calories per day (about 9 teaspoons or 38 grams of sugar) for men. 1, 2, 3


So You Recommend Eating Sugar?

Please note that we are NOT saying that eating candy during Elimination is suggested, nor are we really recommending eating commercial candy at ANY time, but since we know you are going to anyway, we figure we want to help you minimize potential hazards.

This list is NOT FOOLPROOF. It is a guide based on U.S. candies.

FYI we did some research on the Top 10 Halloween candies to make sure we included those and you will see them numbered below, dispersed amongst the lists.


How We Made Decisions

Some candy ingredient lists are straightforward and only contain low FODMAP ingredients. Those candies were automatically added to the Low(er) FODMAP list.  

Be sure to check out our companion article, Low FODMAP Candy Ingredients, which takes you through all of the most popular candies, one by one, with ingredients listed.

FOR CHOCOLATE CANDIES: Suggested upper limit portion sizes are based on estimated milk chocolate content for the chocolate containing candies, referenced against Monash recommendations.
FOR NON-CHOCOLATE CANDIES: Suggested upper limit portions sizes for the non-chocolate candies are based on serving sizes that provide 25 grams of sugar or less based on (Vanessa’s) clinical experience.

Small Amounts of Some Ingredients Are OK

Note that some inclusions in the Low(er) FODMAP list might be surprising, like candies based on milk chocolate as they contain dairy, but remember that Monash University allows up to .5 ounce/15 grams of either milk chocolate or white chocolate per low FODMAP serving. This is because the amount of lactose is low enough, per small serving.

Also, sometimes a potentially problematic ingredient is listed but it is less than 2% within that candy. This amount is generally looked upon as okay – although of course your own results might vary.


FODMAP Stacking

On the other hand, sticking with dairy for a moment, if a candy contains dairy and another potentially problematic ingredient, but these ingredients are lower on the ingredient list, meaning they are in small amounts, then we placed these candies in the Try If You Are Feeling Daring column. Eater beware. Proceed with caution.

You can also read our article about FODMAP Stacking.


Artificial & Natural Flavors

Many commercial candies and chocolates contain artificial and/or natural flavors. From a FODMAP perspective we don’t have to worry about the artificial flavors.

Natural flavors can be problematic because they can be derived from all sorts of food-grade ingredients like garlic, onion or really any foodstuff!

With savory foods that list “natural flavors”, we will often call manufacturers to assess what their natural flavors are derived from, and we do in fact often discover hidden FODMAPs. For the purposes of this list we are dealing with sweet candies and we feel fairly confident that no natural flavors were derived from onion or garlic, so a few of the candies listed below in the approved columns do contain natural flavors.

Now, if you go rogue and start eating garlic jelly beans (yes, those are a thing!), then all bets are off! Don’t do it.

Any candies that clearly list high FODMAP ingredients are on the high FODMAP list.
 If you have a history with a particular ingredient, pay attention to your well-earned self-knowledge!

candy corn

But First, Candy Corn Gets Its Own Mention

We don’t think its Halloween without candy corn. We wouldn’t eat it voluntarily at any other time of year but it is like the Christmas cookies of that holiday; like the chocolate bunnies of Easter; the strawberry shortcake of the 4th of July. Candy corn is synonymous with Halloween.

Candy corn is made with honey, which was recently given a Green Light by Monash in 1 teaspoon (5 g) amounts! Yeah, that’s a tiny amount, but candy corn are diminutive and there is NO WAY each candy corn has that much honey in it!

Also, honey is listed after sugar and regular corn syrup on the ingredient list (see our Ingredient candy article), so it is a very small amount. There are other candies, too, like little candy pumpkins, that are made from the same ingredients as candy corn and the same approach is recommended for them as for candy corn. So, have a candy corn – or two or maybe even three!


Low & High FODMAP Halloween Candy Lists

With no further ado, our Low(er) FODMAP Halloween Candy choices, High FODMAP Halloween Candy choices and a list of some candies that we are on the fence about – we call those Try If You Are Feeling Daring.

Serving Size Recommendations

Serving size recommendations are made by Vanessa Cobarrubia RDN as a guide and are based on Monash University low FODMAP Diet App recommendations for serving sizes for individual ingredients.

As is always the case – we are not offering medical advice and you should always confer with your medical and healthcare team to ensure that you are following guidelines appropriate for your individual body’s needs.

Check out our Amazon Low FODMAP Candy Shop here.

Low(er) FODMAP Halloween Candies

These are the candies we recommend – in moderation, of course.
Atomic Fireballs  

Practice moderation. Maybe 3 per serving.

Boston Baked Beans 

Maximum 20 to 25 per serving.

Butterfingers

#7 on many favorite lists.  These have some FODMAPs but they are listed as less than 1% on the label. Start off with half a full-size bar or 1 to 2 fun size bars, or the equivalent of 3 to 4 bites.

Circus Peanuts 

Practice moderation. Maybe 4 pieces max.

Conversation Hearts 

Maybe 6 to 8 pieces max.

Dove Promises Silky Smooth Dark  

Limit to 3 pieces (24 g total).

Dum Dums (lollipops)  

Limit to 4 to 5.

Haribo Gummi Bears 

Limit to 15 gummi bears.

Haribo Sour Goldbears  

Limit to 15 gummi bears.

Jolly Ranchers  

Limit to 3 to 4.

Junior Mints  

Limit to 12 mini mints.

Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups 

Limit to 1 peanut butter cup (20 g) and increase to 2 peanut butter cups (if desired) based on personal tolerance.

Justin’s Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups 

There are no additional milk solids, milk, or lactose added in ingredients outside of the milk chocolate. The milk powder is within the milk chocolate ingredients and a common ingredient in milk chocolate. One package or 2 peanut butter cups = 40 grams. 1 peanut butter cup =20 grams. Based on my estimations ~50% or ~10grams of 1 peanut butter cup is milk chocolate and the rest is the yummy peanut butter filling. Limiting to 1 peanut butter cup should keep milk chocolate in safe range.

Laffy Taffy 

Limit to 3 mini pieces.

Lifesavers Peppermint and Wint-O-Green  

Limit to 6

Marshmallows

Exclude any with high fructose corn syrup, inulin or other high FODMAP ingredients:  For standard size limit to 4 to 5.

Mounds  

Limit to 1/2 of a full size bar or 1 to 2 snack size bars.

Mr. Goodbar

Limit to 1/4 of a full size bar or 1 fun size.

NECCO Wafers  

Limit to 10 to 15 wafers.

Nerds

#6 on many lists. Limit to about 1 1/2 tablespoons.

Peeps

these are marshmallows; see above.  Limit to 3 to 4 peeps.

Reese’s Pieces 

Limit to 20 to 25 pieces.

Skittles

#9 on many favorite lists.  Limit to 15 to 20 skittles.

Smarties 

Limit to 2 rolls.

Sno-Caps  

Limit to 1 to 2 tablespoons.

Sour Patch Kids 

#8 on many favorite lists.  Limit to 6 to 8 pieces.

Swedish Fish  

Limit to 2 to 3 pieces.

Sweet Tarts  

Limit to 6 to 8 pieces.


High FODMAP Halloween Candies

We recommend that you do not eat these candies. Or, at least know what you are getting into..
Kit Kat

#4 on many favorite lists. Contain wheat flour, lactose and dairy

Milk Duds

these are milk chocolate based, which is allowed in .5 ounce/15 g amounts, but also contain multiple milk products

Milky Way 

these are milk chocolate based, which is allowed in .5 ounce/15 g amounts, but also contain additional milk products, lactose, and malted barley which is untested by Monash

Starbursts

contain fruit juice concentrates, including apple

Tootsie Rolls

contain condensed skim milk and additional whey

Twix

#3 on many favorite lists. Contain wheat flour, lactose and dairy


Candies To Try If You Are Feeling Daring

For this category, Vanessa recommends trying a small piece to assess your own tolerances. Note that many of these come in “minis”, which might be a great place to start.
Almond Joy 

these list milk products multiple times and we cannot be sure of the amount of lactose.

Dove Promises Silky Smooth Milk 

these list milk products multiple times and we cannot be sure of the amount of lactose.

Heath Bar  

these list milk products multiple times and we cannot be sure of the amount of lactose.

Hershey’s Bar 

#10 on many favorite lists.  these list milk products multiple times and we cannot be sure of the amount of lactose.

M & M’s 

#5 on many favorite lists.  We cannot be sure of lactose content. Try a few.

Mars Bar

these list milk products multiple times and we cannot be sure of the amount of lactose; also lists barley malt.

Nestlés Crunch  

these list milk products multiple times and we cannot be sure of the amount of lactose; also lists barley malt.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups 

#1 on many favorite lists.  These list milk products multiple times and we cannot be sure of the amount of lactose.

Skor 

 these list milk products multiple times and we cannot be sure of the amount of lactose.

Snicker’s

#2 on many favorite lists.  these list milk products multiple times and we cannot be sure of the amount of lactose.

Three Musketeers  

these list milk products multiple times and we cannot be sure of the amount of lactose.

Twizzlers

contain wheat flour


Check out our article on Low FODMAP Candy Ingredients for a more detailed look at all the ingredients in these chocolates and candies.


And Just for Fun

Read about the History of the Gummy Bear, and then there is the 5-pound (2.3 kg) gummy bear, which is a relatively new arrival on the candy scene and not recommended, unless you restrain yourself and maybe chew on just one ear.

5 pound gummy bear

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