Welcome to “McDaniel’s Bite-Sized Reviews” | Smart Sweets 

It’s a weekly series we’re calling “McDaniel’s Bite-Sized Reviews!” Every other week, we’ll share a popular food, drink or supplement one of our MNT Registered Dietitians tried, reviewed and rated. With the growing number products on the grocery store shelves, figuring out which items are getting you the most nutritional bang for your buck can feel overwhelming? Our hope is that we can make grocery shopping at least 0.5% easier!

FYI – these posts aren’t sponsored. They are opinions of unpaid tastebuds.

Check Out Our Past Reviews:

What are Smart Sweets?

Smart Sweets were created by a self-proclaimed candy addict that wanted to provide people like herself with a “healthier” alternative to candy. Smart Sweets wants you to #kicksugar and instead, eat their “candy” which has only 80 calories, 3 grams of sugar, no artificial colors or flavors and no sugar alcohols. The varieties of candy resemble nostalgic sweet treats like gummy bears, Swedish fish and peach rings. They claim, “you deserve to feel GOOD about candy.” Who said I felt bad about it? 

Why Did We Try Smart Sweets?

One morning I woke up, walked into my kitchen and found an empty bag sitting on my countertop. I took a look at the nutrition facts and rightly said, “holy shit” that’s a lot of fiber. Excuse my language, but it’s just an accurate description of what happens when you eat that much fiber in one sitting. When I asked my husband about the source of the sweet new fiber supplement, he mentioned someone from his office brought them over and asked for my opinion. Hence, my review.

Nutrition Facts Label

Smart Sweets Peach Rings

Fruity Gummy Bears

Smart Sweets has a variety of “candy,” but their nutritional profiles are all very similar and include the prebiotic soluble fibers, preservatives, vegetable/fruit coloring, coconut oil, stevia and carnauba wax or carrageenan.

Smart Sweets: How Many Stars? 

Our 5 Star Rating 

Taste: 4/5 stars

Our family tried the gummy bears, Swedish fish and peach rings. I enjoyed the bears and fish, but the sour rings were simply to sour for my liking. The sweet flavor was SWEET, stevia is ~200x more sweeter than sugar, so if you’re trying to retrain your tastebuds to enjoy more natural sweet flavors, like fruit, this isn’t going to help you.  The textures reminded me of gummy vitamins compared to real gummies. Overall, I found them pleasurable, like candy!

Nutrient Density: 3/5

This product is tricky to evaluate for nutrient density. It’s more like a fiber supplement compared to a “food.” For 80 calories, you get 3 grams of sugar (less than 1 tsp), a minuscule amount of fat, and 3 grams of protein. In comparison to 80 calories of regular gummy bears  (~gummy bears), the real stuff offers 22 grams of carb, <0.1 gram of fiber, and 0 grams of protein.

Value: 1/5

Smart Sweets: 1.8 oz = $2.99 ($1.66/oz)

Target Market Pantry: 8 oz = 0.99 ($0.12/oz)

Yum Earth Gummy Bears: 7 oz= $7.19 ($1.02/oz)

Black Forest Gummy Bears: 4.5 oz = $1.38 ($0.31/oz)

There’s a wide range in price, and I’m no financial advisor, but I’d say that’s a heavy price tag for 80 calories.

Overall Rating (2.6)  + Thoughts of Smart Sweets

#kicksugar is the tagline for Smart Sweets. You know what I would like to kick? A couple of things:

  • Believing you are ADDICTED to sugar
  • Black or white thinking that you should ban candy from your life
  • The products lack of education about POTENTIAL negative side effects if you go to town on this candy.

Here’s why:

  • Believing we are addicted to sugar teaches us a learned helplessness instead of inspiring action. Also, based on addiction theory, if you were truly “addicted” to sugar, it would also be hard to stop at one piece of fruit.
  • Black or white/all-or-nothing thinking leads to an unhealthy relationship with food. Sugar-free “substitutions ” of a “addicting” food is simply a band-aid.
  • In 80 calories of a Smart Sweet candy, you get 28 grams of prebiotic fibers. I am a big FAN of prebiotic fiber, but 28 grams is a LOT if you are not accustomed to eating a fiber-rich diet. Consumers deserve a warning label to only eat 1/3 of the package. Then, if no excessive bloating and gas, you are in the clear.

So, yes, if you are trying to consume less sugar and more fiber, this food will help you! But, eat with caution, start slowly and be prepared to invest a huge chunk of change for 80 calories.

In our family, we don’t feel the need to be “saved” from sugar, we just need to continue eating with balance and joy and get our fibers from a variety of plant-based foods, not an over-priced gummy bear.

 

 

 

 

Jennifer McDaniel

Jennifer McDaniel is a Registered Dietitian, Media Spokesperson, and co-author of Prevention's Mediterranean Table Cookbook. She and her team of Registered Dietitians aim to help their clients go further, make change last, and unlock their potential. She lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband, and three young sons. If you are interested in working with Jennifer, please visit our contact page.