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Jelly Bean Laxatives?

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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

So I had to go to the drugstore to pick up a few things and I noticed little bags of sugar-free Jelly Belly jelly beans! Cool! I love Jelly Belly (Except for the buttered popcorn ones! Eeeeew, I don't understand how people can eat those!) so I picked them up on a whim without looking at the package carefully. 80 calories for 35 beans. Pretty good!

They look benign enough, right?

Then there is the warning label:

Um, what?!!! I thought that jelly beans were basically just sugar and I figured these would just be sugar substitutions. I looked at the package and saw that 35 beans have 8 GRAMS OF FIBER!

That seems like a lot for jelly beans, no?

Here are the ingredients:

Malitol, Malitol Syrup, Polydextrose, Modified Food Starch, Contains 2% or Less of the Following: Sucralose, Citric Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Color Added, Red 40, Yellow 5 & 6, Red 40 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, Yellow 5 & 6 Lake, Blue 1, Tapioca Dextrin, Beeswax, Carnauba Wax, Confectioner's Glaze, Salt.

So I guess it is the Polydextrose, a soluble fiber used as a thickening agent in low-cal foods (Source: Wikipedia). Huh. There's a good article on Slate about how they try to boost the fiber content of "high fiber" foods (such as sugary cereals and high-fiber yogurts) with it despite it having little nutritional benefit. The only benefit, unlike the more natural fibers, is that it gets your GI system rolling, though supposedly not as much as "natural" fiber:

Since I never EXPECTED good fiber in my jelly beans (unlike if I'm eating Fiber One products), I'm not worried about it as long as it's not a dangerous additive. BUT I also don't want to be running to the bathroom over a seemingly harmless little jelly bean.

So there you go. Next time you're blocked up, grab a Jelly Belly. YUM!


OK, I worked up the courage and tried a couple (licorice and cherry). I don't like them because they stuck to my teeth big time. They taste OK, but not as good as the regular kind. Ah, live and learn. I think that's enough for me!


RUNTRILAUGH noted that Wikipedia had something similar about Maltitol, which notes "Due to its slow absorption, excessive consumption can have a laxative effect and produce intestinal gas, bloating, and diarrhea. It is very easy for food producers to use it in vast quantities, due to its similarity to sugar, so consumers often end up ingesting far more than they could most other sugar alcohols. This means that maltitol is particularly associated with gastrointestinal upset."

I guess it's a laxative festival with these things. I never would have guessed!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Check out Splenda too. Alot of people use it thinking it is "good" sugar substitute. It's a "non-food" and it's horrible for you too. I never use it. I posted a blog on it in April, 2013 (recently, but if someone reads this a year from now, they'll know where to look)= Splenda- the not-so-good for you non-food.
    1919 days ago
  • CLYNN8810
    I just stumbled across this blog post... I know it's quite old, but this blew my mind!! I think I'd only buy these for my worst enemy!!! haha. Wow! I will start check ALL of my sugar free foods!!! HAPPY EASTER!! :)
    2294 days ago
    I just came across this blog post. OOO-MMMM-GGGG! I thought the package of Brach's Sugar Free Cinnamon Disks were right up my alley since the package said "Splenda" on the front. NOOOO WAAAY! I have been running to the bathroom alllll day (still am) which is SOOOO not good since I'm a teacher! I feel like a balloon filled with gas! UGH! I am miserable.
    2714 days ago
    You said: "Since I never EXPECTED good fiber in my jelly beans (unlike if I'm eating Fiber One products)...."

    Well, not sure if someone's mentioned it or not, but this article (http://www.reuters.com/article/idU
    STRE6675QC20100708) mentioned that Fiber One uses the SAME type of thing to add fiber in--(from the article)

    "The label may list inulin, chicory root extract, oligosaccharide, or oligofructose. For example, the Fiber One Chewy Bar with 9 grams of dietary fiber lists chicory root extract as its top ingredient."
    2758 days ago
  • no profile photo SDAVIS4544
    I ate these once. Big big mistake. Since they were so low-cal, I had the whole (small) bag rather than the suggested serving size of 8 beans. You can only imagine. My evening was ruined.
    2844 days ago
  • MEGAERA0529
    Holy crap - pun intended!!! The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know and the more appealing it is to go with an organic raw diet. I'm not there yet but I can certainly see myself heading more and more in that direction as time passes. *sigh*
    2878 days ago
    I wonder what other products have become laxatives. I think I'll stick with my regular candy from now on
    2886 days ago
    It would give me that effect even without the added fiber because my body does not like Splenda at all! I have to be careful of sugar free things!
    2888 days ago
    I drank 4 cups of sugar free cranberry grape juice. Let's just say I was on the toilet for two whole days. Never again!
    2888 days ago
  • KRISTEN282
    Haha...at least you saw the warning first. My Dad ate a whole bag once then saw the warning. It wasn't a pleasant night for him.
    2892 days ago
  • no profile photo SASSY_FAE
    Wow, that's one of the weirdest products I've heard of in some time, thanks for the warning!

    I love regular Jelly Belly jellybeans (even the buttered popcorn ones!) but I think the pear are my favourite.
    2893 days ago
    Wow! This is crazy! :) Thanks for sharing
    2898 days ago
    LOL... I have that bloating problem with the sugar free crystal light candy (hard candy) I thought they would be something to get me thru that tuff time in the afternoons after lunch at work but nope not worth the stomach problems.

    Thanks for Sharing.

    2899 days ago
    I have also figured out about the artificial sweeteners that are in sugar-free candy. I love to chew on candies throughout the day and I realized that when I switched to sugar-free I started having stomache problems, gas, bloating and discomfort. Now that I only eat them occasionally I do not have these problems!

    2899 days ago
    I actually worked at a place in a mall that sold those. There was a girl that came in and bought them four days in a row before she noticed the warning label. She promptly put the bag back and exclaimed, "That explains a lot!" I didn't ask questions, but I got the idea I shouldn't eat those.
    2899 days ago
    Who knew???? I have been tempted to try these, but no more! emoticon
    2900 days ago
    thank you! for sharing...
    2900 days ago
    Thanks for the info
    2901 days ago
  • DBAILEY0438
    good to know
    2901 days ago
    Moderation in everything is the key! For some of us the laxative effects are not all bad. (I love the buttered popcorn flavor!)
    2902 days ago
    thanks for sharing this information!
    2902 days ago
    Now I know why I got such an upset stomach the day I ate four Reeses sugar free mini peanut butter cups!

    They will always continue to produce food stuffs that are NOT good for people just to make more money. We have to be SO diligent with labels and educating ourselves about additives!

    Too bad we can't do anything about all the genetically modified foods out there. That's a whole OTHER mess that's bad for us.
    2903 days ago
  • JUSTME29
    I'll take the buttered popcorn ones off your hands. They're my favorite, but no-one else in existence seems to like them. None of those though, yikes! Thanks for sharing, I'll have to look closely at the labels next time I have a "bean" craving.
    2903 days ago
    I noticed that myself a while ago when I was on a quest to find "healthy" candy. It's crazy about the laxative thing. Also, I agree that popcorn flavor jelly beans are gross. Thanks for the post.
    2903 days ago
  • KIMMAS82
    Warning label for JELLY BEANS!?!?!?!? Oh my!!
    2903 days ago
  • DJNELSON1962
    Tis the same with the Sugar Free turtles and other candies. A friend of mine and I were headed on a cruise ship with tons of things not healthy for us Diabetics so we bought an assortment of the Sugar Free yummies --- after a couple of days we were both sick to our tummies and making lots of trips to the potty.

    SO be very careful of anything marked sugar free

    2903 days ago
    2903 days ago
    2904 days ago
    Wow, thanks for the info!
    2904 days ago
  • IN_IT_2_WIN_IT
    The sugar free low fat chocolates that contain sugar alcohols have a laxative effect. I guess that would be true of all candies that contain them. Kind of makes eating them feel a little guilt free, if you can stand the after effects.
    2904 days ago
    Yikes! Thanks for the info.

    Once my mom bought some boxes of sugar-free candy hearts, the kind with little messages on them, for my kids. It being Valentine's Day, I let my little ones go ahead and eat them up. I then spent the evening rushing them to the toilet.
    2904 days ago
    Yikes! Thanks for the info.

    Once my mom bought some boxes of sugar-free candy hearts, the kind with little messages on them, for my kids. It being Valentine's Day, I let my little ones go ahead and eat them up. I then spent the evening rushing them to the toilet.
    2904 days ago
    Yikes! Thanks for the info.

    Once my mom bought some boxes of sugar-free candy hearts, the kind with little messages on them, for my kids. It being Valentine's Day, I let my little ones go ahead and eat them up. I then spent the evening rushing them to the toilet.
    2904 days ago
    2904 days ago
    emoticon for the info.
    2905 days ago
    Any artificial sweeteners can make you go. You have to be careful with Sugar Free candies. It is nothing new... I used to get into my Dads Sugar Free candies when I was young and I paid the price.
    2905 days ago
    We played a joke on a co-worker once by putting a bunch of sugar free jelly bellies in a bowl in our workroom. (She was a candy junkie and ate most of them by the end of the day). Needless to say she suffered with a lot of gas that evening. Those artificial sweeteners are crazy!
    2905 days ago
    mmmm jelly belly. I'm a fan of the PB&J ones together! yummers! I guess, like with all things, moderation is key!
    2905 days ago
    Hmm, I wonder if this is why I've been having, ahem, the opposite problem since giving up these kinds of foods! Maybe my body was somewhat dependent on the laxative effects?
    2905 days ago
    Interesting! Thanks for sharing.
    2906 days ago
    Very interesting! emoticon
    2906 days ago
    Thanks for the information. I guess everything in moderation and some things not at all. I have eaten the fat free, sugar free gummy bears at a local Wegman's and I love them, no side effects but I only use them as a snack every now and then. They don't taste like the real deal, but they curb the sugar craving I get. I just can't go crazy with every little thing, information is always changing. I wish everyone well!
    2907 days ago
  • no profile photo GODMOM5426
    Sugar alcohols like Maltitol are the devil! Every time my husband buys me "sugar-free" ice cream (because the dern fool still thinks I want to eat stuff that I can no longer have thanks to being diabetic), I check the label to see what if any sugar alcohols are listed on it--and invariably I have to send him back to get a refund and get me some fruit or plain yoghurt instead, because...damn.
    2907 days ago
  • LOSING107
    Sugar-free ice cream had the same effect on me. Never again!
    2909 days ago
    Thanks for the information have not had a sugar free jelly bean in a long time. I do know that the sugar life savers will do the same thing lol.
    2911 days ago
    Great information. I love sugar free Jelly Belly's. Although I don't eat them often the buttery pop corn ones are yummy!
    2911 days ago
    Oh I havenĀ“t tried the sugar-free Jelly Bellies but have tried a few other candies that gave me gas BIG time! Never more! Lesson learned.
    2911 days ago
    Thanks for the very interesting info.
    2912 days ago
    Any of the sugar alcohols (those things that end in -tol, like maltitol and sorbitol) can have MAJOR effects on one's digestive system. My mother (bless her soul) found out the hard way, by indulging in far more than a serving of sugar-free hard candies sweetened with maltitol. She was, shall we say, "indisposed" for the better part of an evening.

    For myself, I have them occasionally as a treat, but NEVER more than what is allowed per the serving size--and often fewer pieces than I could have, because one or two is plenty for me. I don't NEED five. :-)

    2912 days ago
    Really interesting emoticon
    2912 days ago
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