CHALROTTE, N.C. -- They're popping up in grocery stores. Packages of “healthy candy.”
But do you know how to read the label and determine what is truly healthy? What's not?
Unreal Candy Unjunked is one of the latest products hitting store shelves. Designed to look like the candy you know and love, its makers say it's healthier.
“They don't chemically engineer their product which is a real benefit,” says Jennifer Brunelli, owner of Sports RDpro and the Director of Sports Nutrition at the U.S. Performance Center in Charlotte.
We brought several products for Brunelli to research.
“This is a product I’d tell people to stay away from,” she said about an energy candy called KABANG.
Brunelli says the bite size candy is loaded with sugar.
“What they are is 15 calories and 5 carbohydrates and 3 grams of sugar. So basically it's one packet of sugar,” she said.
Brunelli says you’d have to eat ten KABANGS to get any real added energy, and she says when you add up the sugar in ten pieces of candy, it’s not a healthy choice.
The former University of South Carolina swimmer also investigated Unreal Candy Unjunked, but worried again about the sugar in many of its products.
In one of the Unreal products, a serving of candy has 19 grams of sugar. Brunelli said that’s the equivalent of eating almost five packets of sugar.
"So that's kind of a good way of knowing how much sugar is in something. Am I getting something that I want to put in my body?” she asked.
Ultimately, Brunelli says the best energy and performance foods are still “whole foods.” Yogurt, fruit or nuts are still better than any candy on the market today.