snake lolly wrappers show nutritional tricks

25% less sugar lollies: tricky treat in the confectionery aisle?

Who would have thought that 25% less sugar jelly lollies offer no true advantage for your body’s health?

In terms of energy (calories or kilojoules) and total carbohydrate, traditional lollies and 25% less sugar lollies are so close, I’d call them the same. The difference is insignificant.

The claim of 25% less sugar is nutritional trickery. Snakes in the grass.

Still rotten for teeth, body weight and blood glucose control.

Compare the snake lolly packets in the main image.

The 25% less sugar on the left. The regular snakes lollies centre and right.

Things to note:

  • same serve size of 2 snakes or about 25 g
  • energy content so close for 2 snake lollies: 351 kJ in the less sugar snakes, 361 kJ in the same brand's regular snakes, 350 kJ in the competition's regular snake. In essence, no substantial differences. Total energy still matters.

It doesn’t seem fair. You try to do the best for the family and label claims try to catch you out.

know how big your serve truly is

A smaller serve contains fewer kilojoules and carbohydrate than a larger standard serve.

It makes perfect sense for you to eat fewer of your favourite lollies to get a bigger advantage. Instead of 5 lollies, eat 4. Instead of 4 eat 3.

Be alert for more trickery on nutrition information panels. Some manufacturers quote smaller serve sizes than competitors which makes their lollies appear healthier.


how to curb the lolly habit

Ideally ditch all lollies right now. Head to the stash and toss them in the garbage bin. Done?

Okay, back to reality. Some things are easier said than done. Here are a few tips to reign in and curb the lolly habit without falling for nutritional trickery.

  • At your next shop, instead of a big value bag, buy one small bag. The less you have at home, the less you have to eat. Be sure to buy extra fresh fruit to eat as planned snacks or for when the need for sweet hits.
  • For a portable compact travel sweet or lunchbox sweetener, swap to dried natural fruits because these deliver more fibre and essential minerals than lollies ever will. Although dried fruit is still not brilliant for dental health, you do get essential nutrients of benefit to your entire body.
  • For a sweet finish to any meal, serve a bowl of preserved fruit packed in natural juice (canned or plastic packed). A single serve is generous and filling compared with lollies.
  • Steer your tastebuds away from sweet fake tastes with savoury foods: have leftover cold meats, chicken, boiled eggs, cooked corn and legumes.
  • Got a lolly jar or bag in the pantry? It’s hard to be accountable when there’s an open bag or lolly jar lurking in the pantry or, worse, on the kitchen bench. Put lollies into a tin or dark container you can’t see into, inside a cupboard. Out of sight, out of mind works surprisingly well. Place jars and bags out of reach to prevent little hands diving into the lolly stash.
  • Repackage lollies into single serve size parcels. Date and label these 1 through 20 (or however many serves a full pack holds) to remind you about how small a serve of lollies really is. Put these mini-parcels into a dark container inside a cupboard.
  • Serve lollies onto a tiny plate and reseal the package and container before you move away and sit down to eat them. Eat straight from the pack and you risk over-eating.

Try this experiment. Kick lollies out of your life for at least three weeks. Avoid opening lolly bags and eating or smelling lollies. When you finally open a bag to taste them, notice how intense the fake smell and taste of lollies is. Decide not to eat them.


make a swap

1. Dried fruits as a travel sweet: compact, bounce-proof and not messy.

2. Dried fruit in lunchboxes. Replace lollies in lunchboxes with dried natural fruits - sultanas, apricots, apple rings, figs, dates, and raisins are ideal. Check the ingredient list on the label to make sure no extra sugars are added (dried cranberries, pineapple and mango are often sugar-sweetened). Avoid compressed dried fruit chews and energy balls because these are lollies in disguise.

3. Fresh or preserved fruit for an afternoon pick-me-up naturally sweet hit.

how about additives?

When confectionery manufacturers use fewer artificial flavours and colours they proudly promote this on product labels.

Fewer artificial additives is great for those avoiding industrial additives but not so great for those more sensitive to natural agents in food including amines and salicylates.

Concentrated natural flavours and colour extracts still trigger food intolerant reactions in sensitive people. Possible reactions include headache, migraine, skin rashes, shortened attention span, and tummy ache.

Here are non-lolly party and Halloween ideas.