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Are Sour Patch Kids Gluten-Free?

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Are Sour Patch Kids gluten-free? Yes, Sour Patch Kids are gluten-free. 

Aside from being a great movie theater snack and gluten-free Halloween candy, these little guys make for an easy-to-digest gluten-free snack during a long workout. 

“First they’re sour, then they’re sweet!” But most importantly, gluten-free!

Read below for a deep dive into the Sour Patch Kid ingredients and nutrition content. More importantly, keep reading to learn which sour patch kid varieties are gluten-free and celiac safe.

Finally, for those of you like us who want to add more “spice” and fun foods to your training nutrition, we will teach you how you can use Sour Patch Kids to fuel your endurance workouts and races!

Sour Patch Kids Ingredients

All ingredients in Sour Patch Kids are gluten-free and vegan. However, Sour Patch Kid original candies are not labeled or listed as “gluten-free” so may be subject to cross-contamination. Thankfully much of the celiac community regards sour patch kids as gluten-free and safe to eat. 

Sour patch kids original in a glass container on a grass field.

Manufactures Comment

We reached out to the Sour Patch Kids directly and they stated:

 “Unfortunately, we do not have a list of gluten-free products available. We ask that our Consumers check their product packaging at time of purchase; if the package does not specifically say “Gluten-Free” we urge caution, to be on the safe side.” 

Sour Patch Kids are made by Mondelez International Inc. Mondelez is the corporation behind many gluten-free and non-gluten-free products such as Oreos, Perfect Snacks, Tate’s Bake Shop, Hu, Trident gum, and many more. 

So Are They Gluten-Free?

You know your gluten-free needs best. All of the ingredients in sour patch kids are gluten-free, the only concern would be cross-contamination.

However, even the Celiac Disease Foundation lists sour patch kids as gluten-free!

Sour patch kids contain (1): 

  • Sugar
  • Invert sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Modified corn starch
  • Less than 2% of tartaric acid
  • Citric acid
  • Natural and artificial flavor
  • Yellow 6
  • Red 40
  • Yellow 5
  •  Blue

Sugar

The first ingredient listed in Sour Patch Kids is sugar. Sugar is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan. 

Invert Sugar

The second ingredient in Sour Patch Kids is invert sugar which is found naturally in honey and some fruits, it can also be man-made. 

This liquid sweetener is created when glucose (sugar) and fructose (fruit sugar) bonds are added to, stirred, and broken in the water. The result is a syrup-like sweetener that can help keep products more moist! 

Like sugar, invert sugar is naturally gluten-free and dairy-free. 

Corn Syrup and Cornstarch 

Is corn starch gluten-free? Yes! Corn starch is gluten-free and dairy free.

Corn syrup is derived from cornstarch all of which are derived from corn. Thankfully, corn is a naturally gluten-free grain. 

This honey-like liquid helps to add sweetness, moisture and prevents crystallization of sugar; therefore; helping to keep sour patch kids gummy and not grainy. 

Tartaric Acid 

Tartaric acid is the key ingredient in Sour Patch Kids that makes them sour! 

This sour compound is naturally occurring in grapes, apples, cherries, peaches, citrus fruits and many other fruits. 

Citric Acid 

Citric acid comes from citrus fruits and is naturally gluten-free. This naturally occurring flavor enhancer also adds sour taste.  

Natural and Artificial Flavors

Artificial flavors are typically derived from chemical compounds and therefore gluten-free. 

Natural flavors on the other hand may contain gluten. If the natural flavoring is derived from wheat the label must list that the product contains wheat. Thankfully, sour patch kids do not contain wheat. 

When consuming products that are not labeled gluten-free and have natural flavors we reach out to the manufacturer directly to ensure the natural flavors are gluten-free. 

Artificial Food Color

Sour Patch Kids contain yellow 6, red 40, yellow 5, and blue 1 which are food dyes derived from petroleum. Artificial food coloring gives sour patch kids their bright coloring without adding gluten into the mix. 

Gluten-Free Sour Patch Kids Flavors 

First and foremost, always check the label to see if these items fit your gluten-free needs. Sour Patch Kids are not labeled gluten-free but contain no gluten-containing ingredients. 

The following Sour Patch Kid varieties are gluten-free:

  • Sour Patch Kids Original
  • Sour Patch Kids Watermelon
  • Sour Patch Kids Strawberry 
  • Sour Patch Kids Tropical 
  • Big Sour Patch Kids
  • Sour Patch Kids Berries 
  • Sour Patch Kids Extreme
  • Sour Patch Kids Heads
  • Sour Patch Kids Bunnies
Sour Patch Kids original, strawberry sour patch kids and watermelon sour patch kids.

Are Sour Patch Kids Healthy?

Sour Patch Kids are a great source of quick, easy-to-digest carbohydrates and gluten-free. For athletes that are having difficulty consuming enough carbohydrates during long workouts or endurance races, Sour Patch Kids can save the day! 

The American Heart Association recommends (2): 

  • Women consume < /= 24 g sugar per day 
  • Men consume </= 36 g of sugar per day 

The dietary guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 also recommend limiting daily sugar intake to less than 10% of total calorie intake. (3)

For the average person, consuming a large number of Sour Patch Kids daily may not be best for their health. However, for an athlete, Sour Patch Kids can help to meet high carbohydrate needs! 

Sour Patch Kids on Race Day

Carbohydrates fuel our muscles and brains with energy. When selecting sports drinks and carbohydrate food sources for game day or race day it is always best to practice your fueling plan ahead of time in long workouts. 

We recommend consuming a variety of sugars during long exercise and endurance events! Your body absorbs different sugars in different pathways and at different rates. Therefore, consuming a variety of sugars can allow for better absorption of energy.

Sour Patch kids next to a pair of running shoes on a grass field.

All sugars, even those from Sour Patch Kids, get broken down and used as energy for the body and brain. 

Sports Gu’s vs Sour Patch Kids

Often, endurance athletes such as swimmers, long-distance runners, and triathletes will fule with gu’s, sports drinks, gels, gummies, etc for carbohydrates during races and workouts. 

Sour Patch Kids can be a cheaper alternative to replenish carbohydrates! 

Honey stinger energy chews 2.1 oz pack ($1.27/ounce). 11 chews provide 39 g of carbs.

Strawberry Sour Patch Kids: 10 oz bag ($0.67/ounce). 11 Strawberry Sour Patch Kids provide 34 g carbohydrates for half the price. 

Sour Patch Kids original: 3.6 oz ($0.34/ounce). 12 Sour Patch Kids Provide 27g of carbs and are the cheapest!

handful of strawberry sour patch kids

If you have gluten-free needs and enjoy Sour Patch Kids you may want to try adding some of these sour and sweet candies to your race day fueling plan! 

How to Fuel with Sour Patch Kids? 

How many carbohydrates do I need during exercise and races? It depends! Carbohydrate needs during exercise and racing will vary depending on your exercise intensity and length of exercise. 

Often we see that endurance athletes do not consume enough carbohydrates even though high carbohydrate intakes are linked to better performance outcomes! (4)

We recommend 30-60 grams during halftime if you play a sport like soccer or football and much higher hourly carbohydrate intakes when competing in marathons, half-ironmans, and ironmans. (5) See our graphic below for more details! 

How many carbohydrates do you need graphic! For half-time sports 30-60 g carbs at half-time. For swimming and running training 30-60 g carbs after the first hour of exercise. For marathons and ironmans 60-90 g carbs per hour.

We do not recommend relying solely on Sour Patch Kids to fuel all athletic endeavors, but we do recommend adding them to your fueling plan if you enjoy them!

It is always best to consume carbohydrates from many different sources such as sports drinks, gluten-free pretzels, fruits, dried fruits, GF energy bars, etc. 

Test fueling with Sour Patch Kids in training to make sure that your gut can handle them! If you need more assistance with your fueling plan click here to find a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Nutrition list by state.

Other Gluten-Free Gummy Candies 

Other tasty gluten-free gummy candies include:

– Swedish fish

– Trolli sour gummy worms

–  Haribro gummy bears 

– Starburst gummies

When in doubt, always reach out to the manufacturer if you have concerns regarding whether or not a candy contains gluten. 

ALWAYS, double-check the labels. You know your body best, if you do not feel great after consuming a product then it may not be for you! 

Final Thoughts

Sour Patch Kids are gluten-free and may be celiac safe. Always read the labels of any product before consuming it.

If a product contains natural flavors, reach out to the manufacturer to make sure that natural flavors are gluten-free. 

Most importantly, Sour Patch Kids can be a part of your race day fuel to make sure your body is getting enough energy to perform at your personal bests!

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