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What’s In My Food: Sour Patch Kids Ingredients Explained

Updated on November 27, 2012

Reading the ingredient list on your food label and knowing what they are, are two different things. For example: Do you know what the ingredients BHT, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, blue 1, and phosphoric acid are? Well you should, since you are consuming them on a daily basis. One's use is banned in restaurants. Another is mined from the earth. And the Other two are made from petroleum.

Can you imagine what these ingredients are doing to your body? Well don't imagine. Know. Educate yourself. Read on to learn exactly what your food is made of, and what it’s doing to your health.

In all products, ingredients must be listed according to their relative weight. The listing of each ingredient is in a descending order of predominance.

Sour Patch Kids’ ingredients are: Sugar, invert sugar, corn syrup, modified corn starch, tartaric acid, citric acid, natural and artificial flavoring, yellow 6, red 40, yellow 5, blue 1.

1. Sugar: A sweetening additive. Made mainly from sugar cane and sugar beet.

Health effects: Safe if eaten in small amounts. Consumption of large amounts over time has been linked to tooth decay, periodontal disease, obesity, hyperactivity, B vitamin deficiencies, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

2. Invert sugar: A sweetener made up of 50% glucose and 50% fructose.

Health effects: May cause tooth decay.

3. Corn syrup: Sweet syrup made from corn starch treated with acid or enzymes.

Health effects: May cause allergic reactions.

4. Modified corn starch: A thickening agent. Starch that has been chemically altered for specific food applications. May be genetically modified.

Chemicals used for modification include, but are not limited to:

propylene oxide - a petroleuderivative

hydrochloric acid - a corrosive used to remove rust

succinic anhydride - used in paper production to strengthen paper

potassium hydroxide - used to make alkaline batteries

sodium hydroxide - chemical base used to make detergents, paper, and drain cleaners

Health effects: Since commonly used in baby foods, safety concerns have arisen due to the use of various chemicals in the making of modified food starch. Especially since babies are still developing and have little resistance to such chemicals. More testing required.

5. Tartaric acid: Naturally occurring acid found in many fruits. Used as a sequestering agent and grape and sour flavoring.

Health effects: Laxative effect if consumed in excess.

6. Citric acid: A weak organic acid used as a flavoring agent and a preservative. Extracted from citrus fruits or made by fermentation of yeast or mold. May contain MSG. May be genetically modified.

Health effects: If MSG sensitive, may provoke symptoms.

7. Natural flavors: Any flavor not chemically derived. Obtained by physical processes from plants or animals. Made to provide flavor to a food rather than nutritional value. May contain MSG.

Health effects: Unknown.Different foods use different natural flavors and processes. Naturally derived ingredients may be altered, rendered unsafe. It should be noted that the use of the word “natural flavors” is often used to mask the use of harmful, naturally derived flavors.

8. Artificial flavors: A synthetic mixture not found in nature, designed to mimic a natural flavor. May contain MSG. Over 1,700 artificial flavors are approved by the FDA.

Health effects: Unknown. Companies are not required to identify the various synthetic mixtures (1,700 to date) used in foods, requiring only that they be listed under the umbrella of the “artificial flavors” listing. Some individuals are sensitive to artificial flavors, experiencing headaches, nausea, and drowsiness, among other symptoms.

Artificial flavors sample list: benzyl isobutyrate, ethyl acetate, ethyl methylphenylglycidate (petroleum derivative), methyl benzoate (petroleum derivative), hydroxyphenyl-2-butanone. An artificial flavor may be made up of any number of synthetic chemicals.

9. Yellow 6: (Known also as Sunset Yellow FCF, E110) Coal tar derived artificial food coloring.

Health effects: Known to cause allergic reactions and hyperactivity in children. Caution is advised if aspirin sensitive.

10. Red 40: (Known also as Allura Red AC, E129) Coal tar derived artificial food coloring.

Health effects: A suspected carcinogen. Has been linked to hyperactivity, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and lower IQs in children. Some scientists question its safety since all tests were conducted by the manufacturer instead of the regulator, the FDA.

11. Yellow 5: (known also as Tartrazine, E102) Coal tar derived artificial food coloring.

Health effects: Linked to thyroid tumors, chromosomal damage, asthma attacks, hives and hyperactivity. Caution is advised if aspirin sensitive. When ingested, some aspirin sensitive patients have been reported to develop life threatening asthmatic symptoms

12. Blue 1: (Known also as Brilliant Blue FCF, E133)Coal tar derived food coloring.

Health effects: Produces malignant tumors at the site of injection and by ingestion in rats. Possible effects include asthma, hives, hay fever, low blood pressure, allergic reactions. Caution is advised if aspirin sensitive.


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    • profile image

      soutpatchisbomb 4 years ago

      i love these things

    • profile image

      no carnauba wax!!!! 4 years ago


    • The Smiling Man profile image

      The Smiling Man 5 years ago from USA

      Please explain how this fact based article is "shoddy science".

    • profile image

      ck 5 years ago

      I love Sour Patch Kids, and I love paranoia and shoddy "science", so this page is perfect for me!

    • The Smiling Man profile image

      The Smiling Man 5 years ago from USA

      I agree. If its processed I stay away and I have my good health to show for it.

    • KerryAnita profile image

      KerryAnita 5 years ago from Satellite Beach, Florida

      Great Hub...Processed foods are so bad for our health. Thanks for breaking it down like this!

    • The Smiling Man profile image

      The Smiling Man 5 years ago from USA

      Here is a link for an all natural candy store. Listed are a variety of sour candies.

      My favorite is the sweet sour gummy worms made by Surf Sweet. Note the ingredients.

      Organic evaporated cane juice, organic tapioca syrup, citric acid, pectin, sodium citrate, ascorbic acid, colors added (including black carrot juice concentrate, turmeric, annatto), natural flavors.

      Wholefoods also carries natural candies.

    • profile image

      poowhiskers 5 years ago

      ok so what should we eat instead of sour patch kids. Tell me! I wanna know!

    • profile image

      Question 5 years ago

      What would be a healthy alternative to sour patch kids? I like them because they are one of the few gummy candies that don't contain carnauba wax. Thanks!

    • profile image

      viva las vegas =) 5 years ago

      i thought sour patch kids a really good but i cant belive what it takes to make them. i didn't even know what halfe that stuff was i had to look it up( well because the fact i didn't know what it was and becuse i am doing a chemical analysis).well thank you for putint this out here and it really helped with my report. ps i don't think i will be eating anymore sour patch kids for a wail.

    • profile image

      Abby wills 6 years ago

      Thank you! I am using these facts for my science fair and am hoping to get an A+! Again thank you so much you might of helped get me an A+!

    • profile image

      Rochelle 6 years ago

      That's... really nasty. I quit eating candy a long time ago because of stuff like this, and I'm only fifteen.

    • profile image

      Brah 6 years ago

      cool man

    • profile image

      Jim 6 years ago

      And I've actually eaten this garbage!!!! )X

    • profile image

      sophia 6 years ago

      i love this article! really changed my perspective on food! thanks!

    • The Smiling Man profile image

      The Smiling Man 6 years ago from USA

      There are healthier alternatives for just about all unhealthy snacks. Just look around.

    • profile image

      Sophia 6 years ago

      I looooove sour patch kids toooooooooo

    • The Smiling Man profile image

      The Smiling Man 6 years ago from USA

      That's the problem. All people think about when it comes to what they consume is taste. Eating healthy doesn't mean you have to sacrifice taste. You just need to have to inform yourself and be vigilant. Meaning read the labels.

    • profile image

      Taylor Burson aka Brittany 6 years ago

      Yummy!Sour patch kids are amazing! There my boyfriends favorite candy, but I love them too! There just sooo yummy! Every one should eat them and buy them! hahahahahahaahahaaha