Next time you reach for that sweet treat, you might want to think twice. We all have our favorite candies, but have you ever stopped to consider what’s actually in them? From unexpected animal byproducts to bug-based dyes, some of the ingredients lurking in your go-to sweets are pretty shocking. Prepare yourself — this list might change the way you look at your favorite snacks forever.

A variety of colorful gummy candies, including gummy bears, rainbow strips, and heart shapes, are scattered against a blue background.
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Gummy Bears – Gelatin

A pile of gummy bears on a white surface.
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Gelatin is derived from the collagen found in animal bones, skin, and connective tissues. This ingredient is a byproduct of the meat industry and involves boiling these animal parts to extract the collagen. Your gummy bears are essentially made from boiled-down animal leftovers, which might make you think twice about reaching for another handful.

Red Candy – Carmine

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Carmine is a natural red dye made from crushed cochineal beetles, primarily harvested in South America. These insects are dried, crushed, and processed to extract the vibrant red pigment. Your bright red candy gets its color from a bug juice shake, which means you’re essentially eating crushed beetles. Crushed beetles in your candy? Yum!

Marshmallows – Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate

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Tetrasodium pyrophosphate is a chemical used as a thickening and foaming agent, stabilizing the texture of marshmallows. It is also commonly found in detergents and water treatment products. While it helps give marshmallows their fluffy texture, it’s unsettling to think that a compound used to clean your clothes is also in your sweet treats. Next time you enjoy a s’more, remember that.

Candy Corn – Shellac

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Shellac is a resin secreted by the female lac bug, commonly found in India and Thailand. This resin is collected, processed, and used to give candy corn its shiny coating. That smooth, glossy finish on your favorite Halloween treat? It’s actually bug excretions. While it might make the candy look appealing, knowing it’s bug resin might make it less appetizing.

Jelly Beans – Beeswax

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Beeswax is produced by honeybees and used to construct their hives. In the candy industry, it’s used to give jelly beans their glossy finish. Essentially, you’re eating a product that bees use to build their homes. While it adds a nice shine, it’s still a bit strange to think about munching on bee secretions.

Chewing Gum – Lanolin

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Lanolin is a waxy substance secreted by the sebaceous glands of sheep and used as a softening agent in chewing gum. This ingredient is also found in cosmetics and lotions. While it helps keep gum chewy, knowing that it’s derived from sheep’s wool might make you reconsider your favorite minty fresh treat.

Licorice – Glycyrrhizin

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Glycyrrhizin is a compound extracted from the root of the licorice plant, giving licorice its distinct sweet flavor. In large quantities, it can cause potassium levels in the body to drop, leading to health issues like high blood pressure. You probably have to eat a lot of it for this to be a concern, but for the random licorice lovers, it’s something to think about.

Chocolate Bars – PGPR

Assorted chocolate candy bars and m&m's packages.
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Polyglycerol polyricinoleate (PGPR) is an emulsifier used to improve the texture and flow of chocolate. It’s made from castor beans and is also used in cosmetics and industrial lubricants. The next time you bite into a smooth chocolate bar, remember that its creamy texture comes from an ingredient found in engine oils.

Sour Candy – Gelatin

A pile of brightly colored, sugar-coated gummy worms in red, yellow, blue, green, and orange.
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Gelatin, also used in gummy bears, is found in many sour candies to give them a chewy texture. This means that your favorite tangy treats are also made from boiled animal bones and tissues, adding a bit of a gross factor to that sour punch.

Mints – Titanium Dioxide

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Titanium dioxide is used as a whitening agent in mints to give them their bright, clean appearance. This chemical is also found in paints and sunscreens. While it makes your mints look pristine, it’s not exactly appetizing to know you’re consuming an ingredient used in house paint.

Hard Candy – Confectioner’s Glaze

Assorted green, red, and yellow hard candies scattered on a surface.
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Confectioner’s glaze, also known as pharmaceutical glaze, is made from shellac, the same bug-derived substance used in candy corn. It’s used to give hard candies a shiny finish. Knowing that your glossy lollipops are coated with bug resin can be quite the appetite killer.

12 Chocolate Candy Bars That Miss The Mark For Most

Stack of assorted chocolate-covered candies, showing cross-sections of various fillings including nougat, wafers, caramel, and crispy rice.
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We all have our favorite chocolate bars, but let’s be honest—not all of them deserve the hype. Some candy bars just don’t hit the mark. You know the ones: too bland, too sweet, or just plain disappointing. It’s surprising how popular some of these overrated treats are, considering they often leave us wanting more. From lackluster flavors to weird textures, these chocolate candy bars seriously miss the mark. Here are the ones that really don’t live up to their reputation in our opinion.

Read it Here: 12 Chocolate Candy Bars That Miss The Mark For Most

10 Controversial Food Ingredients Used In America That Are Banned Globally

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Around the globe, countries take varied approaches to food safety, setting their own rules on which ingredients and production methods are deemed acceptable. What’s routine in the U.S. food industry often faces stricter scrutiny abroad. With the U.S. grappling with high rates of chronic illnesses and food-related disorders, it begs the question: could certain widely-used, yet overseas-banned, additives be contributing to America’s public health challenges?

Read it Here: 10 Controversial Food Ingredients Used In America That Are Banned Globally

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Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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