They’re white, orange and yellow, and these triangular shaped candies are perhaps some of the most divisive sweets ever created: candy corn.
On one side, Yahoo! recently announced that candy corn is the most searched-for sweet in the U.S. this Halloween season. On the other side, NetBase’s 2012 Brand Passion Index report found that the feelings about the sweet were “the most polarized” and that candy corn generated “the most negative feelings.”
In fact, candy corn is made from only eight ingredients: sugar, corn syrup, confectioner’s glaze, natural/artificial flavorings, salt, egg whites, honey glycerin, mineral oil, and carnauba wax.
According to Keith Schneider, a professor at the University of Florida’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, the most demonized ingredient is the carnauba wax.
“It’s derived from a natural plant source,” Schneider said. “It’s used in pharmaceutical applications, car wax and also in candy coatings. I think because the word ‘car’ is in the name of the product, people always assume it’s bad and industrial. But again, it’s just a wax that’s used for many purposes and in many different industries.”
Dr. Linda Bobroff, a professor at the University of Florida’s Department of Family Youth and Community Sciences, said the only thing people need to hate candy corn for is its ability to increase body weight and damage teeth.
“Chewing on lots of candy over a period of time will soak the sugar around your teeth and can cause tooth decay,” Bobroff said.
Both Schneider and Bobroff said that consuming the holiday treat in moderation is fine.
“Articles online (about ingredients being dangerous) may say otherwise,” Schneider said. “But many of those are based on questionable science.”