Calories in Candy

Calories and Carb Counts for Popular Candy

candy nutrition facts
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Candy is delicious, satisfying and delightful. Unfortunately, it is also full of sugar and lacking in nutrition. But is all candy bad for your diet? And is it possible to eat candy and slim down or at least maintain a healthy weight? Yes, thankfully it is. You just have to know to eat and how much of it to enjoy.

Can I Keep Candy in My Diet?

Candy calories are empty calories.

Empty calorie foods are those that provide little or no nutritional benefit. Often these are foods that are full of solid fats and added sugars (SoFAS).

In a perfect world, we'd consume no empty calories at all.  We'd only eat foods full of healthy nutrients and vitamins and minerals. But the truth is that empty calorie foods often taste good. So nutrition experts have developed guidelines for the consumption of empty calories.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USDA) has set standards to help you limit the number of empty calories you consume each day. Each recommendation assumes that empty calories are extra calories consumed after you've reached your recommended intake of other important nutrients and food groups.

The limits are based on age and your gender.

  • Children (2-8 years old): 120 calories per day
  • Children (9-13 years old): 120-250 calories per day
  • Girls (14-18 years old): 120-250 calories per day
  • Boys (14-18 years old): 160-330 calories per day
  • Adult women: 120-250 calories per day
  • Adult men: 160-330 calories per day

Healthiest Candy Options

Tootsie Pop Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 pop (17 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 60 
Calories from Fat 0 
Total Fat 0g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g 
Monounsaturated Fat 0g 
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 0mg0%
Potassium 0mg0%
Carbohydrates 15g5%
Dietary Fiber 0g0%
Sugars 10g 
Protein 0g 
Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 0% · Iron 0%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

No candy is really "healthy." The healthiest way to satisfy your sweet tooth is to enjoy fruit, often called "nature's candy." But if you want to indulge in store-bought sweets, these products are likely to do the least damage.

  • A single Werther's Original Caramel Hard Candy provides 23 calories less than one gram of fat and about 3 grams of sugar. (Note, a single serving is listed as three candies on the Nutrition Facts label as shown)
  • A single Tootsie Pop provides 60 calories, 15 grams of carbohydrate and 10 grams of sugar.
  • A single serving (four candies) of Lifesavers hard candies provides 45 calories, zero grams of fat, 11 grams of carbohydrate and 9 grams of sugar.
  • A single serving of Twizzlers Strawberry Twists provides 160 calories, a half gram of fat, 36 grams of carbohydrate and 19 grams of sugar.
  • A York Peppermint Pattie (for chocolate lovers who are trying to slim down) provides 165 calories, 3 grams of fat and 27 grams of sugar. (Hint: these taste great chilled or even frozen)
  • A single serving of salt water taffy is five pieces. The full serving provides 150 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 32 grams of carbohydrate, and zero grams of protein. 

One factor that makes most of these candies (slightly) healthier is that they take longer to consume.

When you spend more time enjoying a single candy, you may be less likely to eat more.

Unhealthiest Candy Options

The worst candy for your diet will be anything that is super-sized, "king-sized" or isn't individually wrapped. Why? Because you're most likely to overindulge in these sweet treats.

For example, each piece of See's candy in a box of assorted chocolates is likely to provide about 50 calories. That doesn't seem so bad, does it? It's not, as long as you can eat just one piece and then put the box away. But we usually grab two or three pieces (or more) and that's when candy calories become a problem.

  • One Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar with Almonds (King Size) provides 380 calories, 24 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 39 grams of carbohydrate and 36 grams of sugar.
  • One Kit Kat wafer bar provides 218 calories, 11 grams of fat, 27 grams of carbohydrate, 20 grams of sugar and 2.7 grams of protein.
  • One standard-size Snickers bar provides 215 calories, 11 grams of fat, 28 grams of carbohydrate, 20 grams of sugar and 3 grams of protein.
  • One standard-sized Twix bar provides 286 calories, 14 grams of fat, 37 grams of carbohydrate, 28 grams of sugar and almost 3 grams of protein.
  • One standard-sized Butterfinger bar provides 275 calories, 11 grams of fat, 44 grams of carbohydrate, 28 grams of sugar and about 3 grams of protein
  • One standard-sized Milky Way bar provides 264 calories, 10 grams of fat, 41 grams of carbohydrate, 35 grams of sugar and 2.3 grams of protein.
  • The calories in a marshmallow depend on the size that you consume. Those tiny mini-marshmallows provide only 2 calories per treat. Bigger marshmallows contain about 25 calories.

Choosing and Keeping Candy 

The hardest thing about buying and keeping candy at home or at your office is that it is so difficult to eat just one piece. Many people keep a bowl of small candies on their desk or counter and then grab a piece on a regular basis. Those tiny candy calories can add up quickly if you indulge every day, or worse, every few hours.

Even though it might make economic sense to buy bulk candy or large bags of chocolate "minis," these tiny treats are too easy to overeat. If you choose to indulge in a piece of candy, buy just one piece of the candy that makes you happy. Then enjoy your single serving and be done. Economy bags of candy might make sense in your budget, but they wreak havoc on your waistline.

A Word from Verywell

Candy isn't necessarily bad for you. It provides enjoyment and most would agree that it is one of life's small delights. But too much candy can do damage to your teeth and to your waistline. Enjoy sweet treats in moderation to keep your healthy eating and wellness plan on track.