April 5, 2009

You Ask, I Answer: Gummy Bear Food Label

Here's a mystery for you.

I am looking at a bag of Haribo gummy bears. According to the food label, there are 3 grams of protein per serving.

How can that be? I thought candy was just sugar?

-- Marilyn (last name withheld)
New York, NY

I sought out a bag of these gummy bears and immediately looked at the ingredient list: "corn syrup, sugar, gelatin, dextrose, citric acid, starch, artificial and natural flavors, fractionated coconut oil, carnauba wax, beeswax coating, artificial colors: Yellow 5, Red 10, Blue 1."

The answer to your question comes courtesy of the third ingredient -- gelatin.

Remember, gelatin is made from the jelly-like protein substance that remains after dissolving animal tendons, ligaments, skin, and bones in boiling water. Consequently, gelatin is approximately 85% protein.

All gelatin is animal-derived. "Vegetarian candies", meanwhile, use plant-based thickeners.

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