Whether you can’t wait to get your hands on these sweet, chewy kernels or there’s no Halloween candy you like less, candy corn is everywhere come fall. Invented back in the 1880s by the Wunderlee Candy Company, according to the National Confectioners Association, candy corn has now become a staple of the season. The yellow, orange, and white confection is so ubiquitous, it’s even made its way into M&Ms, Oreos, bagels, and martinis.
Festive, sure. Health-conscious? Not so much. Yes, there’s only about 140 calories in a serving of candy corn, but who can stop at just 19 measly kernels? There’s no fat to worry about in candy corn, but that means the sweet treat won’t fill you up, making you even more likely to dip back into the bag for more. And with 28 grams of sugar—including high-fructose corn syrup—a single serving costs you more than half of the added sugar you should get in an entire day (which tops at 25 grams for women, 36 for men, according to the American Heart Association).
In this video, we take you through the other scary terms on the candy corn ingredients list, like confectioner’s glaze, a fancy way of saying insect secretions, and artificial flavors, which covers any number of more than 700 FDA–approved food additives.
One ingredient that might be particularly troubling to vegetarians is gelatin, which is used as a thickening agent. Gelatin is a protein made from animal sources; candy corn may mimic a vegetable, but it’s not on the menu for vegetarians and vegans. Sorry to spook you, but you may want to skip the candy corn this year—especially after watching the video above.
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