9 Sugar-Free Foods That Have Almost Killed People

A pile of chewing gum

Trying to eliminate sugar is a great way to stay healthy. It’s almost ridiculous to learn how much sugar we consume on a daily basis. But, sometimes, going sugar-free will lead to a lot of unwanted health issues. To be clear, you might want to reschedule your plans if you just ate a bag of sugar-free snacks.

According to Gizmodo, it’s all because of an ingredient called Lycasin. It’s a low-calorie sugar that contains maltitol, which is a sugar that our bodies often have a tough time digesting. That means that these can be good snacks for diabetics who need to watch their sugar intake, as they’re processed so slowly in the human body that they don’t cause dangerous sugar spikes. They’re not unhealthy per se, but they’re something you’ll want to eat with caution. Simply put, eating too much of it is a great way to bring on diarrhea and stomach cramps. It’s a painful visual, but it’s true.

Sugar-free products often work just as well as laxatives, and even though most people who’ve made this unsettling discovery have a sense of humor about it, it’s important for people to know. Extensive diarrhea can cause dehydration, so it’s really important to make sure you know what to expect if you indulge.

Here are some of the products that you’ll want to keep an eye out for.

1. Sugar-Free Gummy Bears

These have been known to be the ultimate in stomach distress. How dare a gummy bear can deceive us so. Word got out thanks to Amazon. A collection of reviews, which are hilarious, all mark how the bears served as an unexpected laxative. Most brands have the effect. But the product reviews for the Albanese bears seem almost sinister.


Let’s just say, perhaps you’ll want to avoid the gummy bears if you’re hanging out with a “friend.”


There’s been so much mystery behind the sugar-free gummy bears that people have tested it out for themselves, just to make sure it wasn’t Amazon folklore. It definitely isn’t.

Haribo Sugar Free Gummy Bears Review from r/funny

As for Haribo’s variety, which is currently unavailable on Amazon (perhaps for the best) the top critical review is titled “One of the worst days of my life.” All thanks to sugar alcohols.

So, eat these things if you dare. If you’re looking to cut down sugar just for the heck of it, just skip these and cut gummy bears out of your diet completely. 

2. Sugar-Free Peppermint Patties

Chocolates aren’t safe, either. In order to make them taste like the originals, they contain the same sugar alcohols you’d find in gummy candies. Unfortunately, people are a little more unaware of the laxative effect for these. Hey, you’ve been warned.

3. Sugar-Free Jelly Beans

Looking for a good snack? You might want to avoid sugar-free jelly beans, especially if you have a busy day ahead of you. A few shouldn’t cause too much harm, but jelly beans are hard not to keep popping if the bag is close by.

4. Sugar-Free Gum

If you’re a gum addict, you might realize that chewing on sugar-free gum can sometimes lead to an upset stomach. Gum has its good points (such as, minty fresh breath) but too much might lead to a little bit of…distress if you know what I’m talking about.

5. Sugar-Free Cough Drops

Have a cold? Well, be careful with your cough drops. There are plenty of sugar-free varieties out there that have given people additional symptoms that made them feel like death was near.

6. Sugar-Free Cookies

If you think you’re safe by avoiding the candy aisle, think again. Sugar alcohols are also present in snack foods like cookies, and if you eat more than you should (which is very easy to do) you may feel the laxative effects. So, make sure you read the label before putting them in your grocery cart.

7. Sugar-Free Marshmallows

If you think you’re doing yourself a favor by popping these in your hot chocolate, you may be disappointed for a few reasons. For one, they reportedly don’t taste much like the real thing. And two, you’ll be spending the rest of the night in the bathroom if you eat too many of them.

8. Sugar-Free Chocolate

Sigh. Even standard sugar-free chocolate isn’t safe. Since chocolate is another snack that’s tough to have a handle on sometimes, you may think you’re making a healthy choice. But, it’ll cost you.

9. Sugar-Free Pudding

The good news is that pudding is often separated in set cups when you buy it, so the chances of overindulging and getting very sick are a little lower than the other foods on the list. But the bad news is: it can still happen. Especially if you’ve enjoyed that sugar-free pudding cup after some sugar-free gum and sugar-free cough drops. For many, it brings an issue that’s not as bad but still embarrassing: gas.

In short, if it says sugar-free, make sure you know it’s something your body can handle.

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