Safer Candy Cane Switch

December 17, 2017
Safer Candy Canes

I’m not necessarily a big fan of candy canes, but my kids are! And I don’t like the fact that besides being full of sugar, they’re also usually full of genetically modified ingredients, not to mention artificial colors. So I was on a mission this holiday season to find a “safer” candy cane (and I did!).

I’ll tell you the scary facts first, but just know that there are better alternatives I’ll tell you about! The reason I want to start with the scary first is because I believe that when we know or understand the why of avoiding something, it helps us in making our decisions when it comes to buying safer products.

Unhealthy Ingredients

Here are some of the ingredients that regular candy canes typically contain, plus why they are concerning:

Sugar – If it doesn’t specifically state “organic cane sugar,” it is most likely genetically modified.

Corn Syrup – Comes from corn; again, unless it would state that it is organic, it is most likely genetically modified.

Related: Watch this video to find out why you may want to avoid GMOs (and how).

Natural Flavors – While natural flavors sound healthy, they can be anything but. Considered to be a trade secret, the individual ingredients don’t need to be listed. They are defined as “flavors that are extracted from plant or animal sources” (you can see list of required sources on the FDA’s website, here).

These mixtures can contain more than 100 different chemicals, including preservatives, solvents and other additives, some of which may also be toxic. These are defined as “incidental additives.”

Artificial Flavors – These are considered to be a trade secret, so individual ingredients do not need to be disclosed. Artificial flavors are man-made and can be made up of dozens of chemicals, and can even contain up to 50 to 100 different chemicals.

Artificial Colors – These are petroleum-based dyes used to make foods look more appealing, but offer no nutritional value. The top 3 most-used artificial colors, Red No. 40, Yellow No. 5, and Yellow No. 6 contain benzidine, which is known to cause cancer in humans and animals.

In addition to posing a cancer risk, artificial colors are linked to ADHD and hyperactivity in children, and have even been shown to affect children regardless of whether they have ADHD.

Many of these food colorings have been removed in foods in Europe, or they must carry a warning label that the food “may have an adverse affect on activity and attention in children.”

In a nutshell, those are some of the concerning ingredients in regular candy canes.

Unhealthy candy cane ingredients






Safer Candy Canes

The good news?

I have found some alternatives that are “healthier” (but remember, they are still full of sugar!) and taste great!

Doesn’t this ingredient list look MUCH better after reading the other ingredients?

This ingredient list belongs to Wholesome and TruJoy candy canes (TruJoy is Wholesome’s sister company, so it is the same website, and same ingredient list). They are USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project verified, so if you’re going to buy candy canes, I recommend these. I thought they tasted great (I had to try them before I can recommend them, right?), and my kids approved, too.

I was so happy when I found them at a local health food store, but they are also available online (you can get 10% off your first order on their website by signing up for their newsletter, and they also have coupons available here).

Safer Candy Canes



Safer Brands to Buy