New Research: Jelly Beans Will Kill You (Giveaway!!)

by Charlotte on March 26, 2010 · 54 comments


I don’t want to start your day off on a bad note but the health and fitness research this week has been, well, a downer.

Item the first: Turns out your gut instinct was right – scientists (at Princeton, no less!) have discovered via our favorite furry rodent test subjects that high fructose corn syrup actually does make you gain more weight than the same caloric amount of table sugar. Not only that, but HFCS causes scarring on your liver, childhood obesity and early death. But don’t worry, you still have to show ID to buy a single box of Sudafed! So we may die early with scarred livers from all that unregulated Coca Cola but if we’re over 18 at least our noses won’t be stuffy.

Item the second: Jelly beans are made 100% out of high fructose corn syrup.

Now you see why I’m bitter. I adore research if it tells me do something I’m already doing – like the research this week that found that women need an hour a day of exercise to maintain their weight – it’s an exercise addict’s dream come true! But: IT’S JELLY BEAN SEASON, PEOPLE. How do I love jelly beans? Let me count the ways:

1. SweeTart jelly beans – the gold standard of chewy sour deliciousness and they are only sold now. Also only sold now, their HFCS-laden sister in crime, Gummy Bunnies.
2. Mike N Ike jelly beans – regular Mike-n-Ikes ain’t bad but for some reason the jelly bean version is 100 times better.
3. Sour Starburst jelly beans – yummy but they make my tongue hurt if I eat too many. It’s like a little tongue seizure.
4. Nerds jelly beans – they have this amazing bumpy crispy sour outer shell and a gooey tangy middle. Weird to look at but man they go down easy!
5. “Spice” jelly beans – are disgusting. I wouldn’t touch them with a pair of Lindsay Lohan’s leggings much less eat them. They’re cheap and the black ones taste like fake black licorice. That’s just wrong.

I had to throw #5 in there in case you thought I unabashedly love all jelly beans. While we’re on the subject, I’m not a fan of the much-ballyhooed Jelly Bellies. Some of them are yummy (ripe pear!) but then you accidentally get a popcorn or cappuccino one and you realize that Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans are a concept that only works in the fictionalized halls of Hogwarts and is horrendous in practice. (And “top banana”? Retch.) My point: I’m a connoisseur of HFCS.

Clearly I am in need of a snack intervention.

Like manna from above Fruit Not Fat’s Galaxy Granola* showed up on my doorstep. I don’t know about you but granola is one of the very first things I eliminated when I started healthifying my diet. I haven’t had a bowl of granola in probably 6 years. Which is sad because I really do like granola – all those crunchy rolled oats and nuts and fruit! It seems like it would be good for you, right? But then most companies (even my beloved Kashi) smother all that whole grain goodness with buckets of oil and sugar and, yes, often HFCS thereby turning a healthful breakfast into a nutritional horror show.

I am not a fan of horror shows, nutritional or otherwise. (Just ask my students in Seattle. They discovered they could actually get me to run screaming from my own classroom by the merest hint of telling me the plot line to any of the Saw movies. Gah. I just got a full body shiver. There – again! Okay, must stop writing about it now. Back to granola. Ack – another shiver!! Stop it!) Fruit Not Fat’s concept is simple: they took out most of the sugar and all of the oil and replaced it with apple puree. It’s delicious. And not just in a I-can’t-have-real-granola-so-this-substitute-is-decent kind of way. In all honesty I like this granola – especially the raspberry flavor – better than any “real” granola I’ve ever had. They sent me three bags to try and they were gone in as many days. I couldn’t walk past the cupboard without sneaking a handful.

The nutritional profile is pretty impressive. Just 115 calories per 1/4 cup serving, 1g of fat, 5g of sugar (compared to Kashi Go Lean Crunch’s eye-popping 12g – that’s the same as Cap’n Crunch), and 4g of protein. The ingredient list is so simple it’s a work of art. Whole rolled oats, barley flakes, spelt flakes, evaporated cane juice (yes, that’s sugar), wildflower honey, apples, raspberries, crisp rice, oat flour, oat bran and vitamin E. No weird stuff! The only downside is the price. At $5.29 a bag (that’s from their website – I don’t know how much it costs in stores as there aren’t any near me that sell it), that’s a bit steep for cereal. Especially cereal that I may or may not have eaten an entire bag in one sitting. Ahem.

Want to try some yourself? Fruit Not Fat wants to give one of you a free bag – you can choose your flavor but I heartily recommend the raspberry (it has little freeze-dried raspberries in it!). Everyone else is not left out in the cold – you can order a free sample off their website.

What’s your favorite kind of jelly bean? (And if you say the black licorice ones, I’m not sure we can be friends anymore. Sorry, mom!) What do you think about the HFCS study??

*FTC disclaimer: Fruit Not Fat provided me with free samples of their granola. I was not paid for this review.

{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Shelly March 26, 2010 at 3:42 am

Oh my gosh! I love galaxy granola's vanilla almond flavor!
And jellybean season is the worst! We have a giant bag (part of an Easter gift basket from my future Mother in Law) and I'm am studiously ignoring it. :)
I have a question, I know HFCS is bad, but I like to use agave nectar in my coffee in the morning. In general, I don't think that small amount is a big deal, but I've read that agave nectar, like HFCS, is mostly fructose. Does that mean it's just as bad for you?

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Deb (Smoothie Girl Eats Too) March 26, 2010 at 3:44 am

I'd have to go with Vanilla Almond. What's not to love about that. Yes, stats are good.

GEt this- and I know it's shocking. I have never, ever liked jelly beans (I'm sure I'd adore your human jelly bean, but I can't stand the candies). Now that easter is coming up I have bigger fish to fry: Peeps people, marshmallow peeps. Sigh. HFCS hell.

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Charlotte March 26, 2010 at 3:46 am

Shelly – There has been some disturbing research about agave syrup lately. Basically it's HIGHLY processed fructose and it's claim to be low GI isn't exactly legit. Am working on finding the link for you but it doesn't look good. A little in your coffee probably isn't a huge screaming deal but if you are just looking for sweetness why not just use a wee bit of regular sugar? Or better, local honey? The latter has antibiotic properties and if it's local can help with allergies!

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Charlotte March 26, 2010 at 3:47 am

See Deb – I HATE Peeps. Fun to play with, terrible to eat. So we can split the Easter basket! I'll trade you my peeps for your jelly beans!

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beth March 26, 2010 at 3:56 am

I love the pectin jelly beans that a local (to me) company makes – Sarris. They're mostly a chocolate company and their main store is part chocolate shop, part old fashioned malt shoppe. Easter for me is not complete without pectin jelly beans. And the mix does NOT include licorice!

I like every kind of jelly bean so long as they're not licorice flavored.

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katiejo March 26, 2010 at 4:34 am

But I do like the black licorice ones the best…Sorry Charlotte!

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makingfoodandotherstuff March 26, 2010 at 4:44 am

But I do like the black licorice ones the best…Sorry Charlotte!

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Niki March 26, 2010 at 4:58 am

I can not even count the number of bags of Starburst Jellybeans we have gone through this past month. My boys hear the shuffle of the bag and come running! We love the original best though, then sour. I tried the sweettart ones and was not a fan. HATE the licorice ones at all, blech!

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HeatherKBan March 26, 2010 at 5:32 am

Licorice fan. sorry! I have to defend GoLean crunch because it along with almond milk and frozen berries have become my morning ritual- I love it. 12 grams of sugar may be a lot, but that is for one cup. The granola is 1/4 cup serving, so if you ate 1 cup of it you'd get 20 grams of sugar and 480 calories…(who can really eat just 1/4 cup of granola? seriously) just sayin'… I try not to eat sweets (except for Sunday dinner) so I figure I'll be ok with my cereal addiction. This stuff keeps me full for a long time as well.

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Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) March 26, 2010 at 7:45 am

Just basic sweet flavors or perhaps like pina colada or something fru-fru. I would never eat licorice or bacon flavored or something crazy.

thanks for all your sweet comments and if i ever get serious bout the fitness/figure stuff, would love your info. Have you done shows before?
xxoo
and just letting you know, not fishing!!!!! that i blogrolled you :)

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RedPanda March 26, 2010 at 8:42 am

I love granola, but it's all healthy – no sugar, no oil, nothing bad. It's easy to make your own – well, my hubby makes it for me!

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Anonymous March 26, 2010 at 10:43 am

I love the Go Lean Crunch as well – yogurt, fruit and handful of Go lean make a great breakfast parfait! (at least until you are down to just crumbs)
My Dad absolutely adores jelly beans – he justifies them by telling everyone they have no cholesterol. Last Christmas he ended up with over 5 lbs as everyone threw a bag of jelly beans in with his gift. He has more control than most though and will probably still have some treats left when this Christmas rolls around.

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VaMomof2 March 26, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Not a huge jelly bean fan, more of a chocolate girl. I do think HFCS is bad – try to stay away from it and keep my girls away from it too. On that women's health study, the version that I read was talking about women over 50 or after menopause (just wanted to put that out there as I am creeping closer but you are far away).

So granola, I just started making my own because my eldest saw an advertisement somewhere for a granola topped fruit shake. I showed her some of the nutritional info on granola and she agreed that it was really not a 'healthy' food. Given her interest, I turned my sites on making a healthier granola and had much success. Still not low cal by any means but I combined several recipes I found on the web with some of my low sugar expertise – plus I can control what goes in (I do not like coconut) and can make it mostly organic. I use thick rolled oats, thinner traditional (but not quick) oats, steel cut oats, flax meal, sesame seeds, protein powder plus chopped almonds, pecans and walnuts. For the binding, I use a little oil, cinnamon, vanilla, maple syrup, agave nectar, honey plus splenda and some other no sugar sweeteners (stevia, E, …) and thin that mixture out with some hot water (it makes it easier to pour and makes it coat the whole mixture). I bake in the oven and for the last 20 minutes I add chopped dates, raisins and cranberries (all chopped so that a little goes a long way). My husband loves this so much that I need to bake a batch every 2 weeks now and we now keep it on the counter in a big glass container. It is yummy over greek yogurt and my daughter can now top her fruit smoothies.

Wow – so long – anyway – you can make a healthier granola. It is not hard, just lots of ingredients (as you can see from the above but that could definitely be simplified). For weeks when I do not have time to bake, I will need to look for the galaxy stuff.

Now, not suggesting that you add anything to your plate at the moment (like baking your own granola) – just thoughts for when jelly bean gets older and more of your little ones are in school.

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KUrunner March 26, 2010 at 12:54 pm

When I was teaching General Chemistry, we used to do this experiment: Take some peeps and try to dissolve them in various concentrated acid. Guess what happens! Nothing!

Of course, I would take the remaining peeps back to my office and devour them. I love the bunnies. Something about biting off each of the ears, then the body, and leaving the little head staring up at you knowing what was coming next.

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Jessica March 26, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Blech to the spiced beans!

I just got the ColdStone Creamery ice cream flavored Jelly Bellies on a lark last night. I'm not a fan.

The Reese's eggs? A huge fan. Had to hide 'em from myself.

Still have the Runts beans to try! Anyone tried 'em yet??

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Mardou Fox March 26, 2010 at 1:20 pm

I actually love ripe pear Jelly Bellies!

Also, one of the preschoolers in my sister's 3-year-old class had several food allergies. Not wanting the poor girl to be left out of candy celebrations, my sister kept her room stocked with these:

http://www.naturalcandystore.com/product/organic-jelly-beans-3-pack/corn-syrup-free-jelly-beans

Seems like they're right up your alley!

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britneysmurf March 26, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Oooh I would love to try the cranberry orange flavor.

My favorite jelly bean is strawberry starburst but I am more of a chocolate Easter candy person.

Is your love of jelly beans the reason you call your baby jelly bean?

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BBunyesq March 26, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Sorry Charlotte, I like the spiced jelly beans the best of all – except the fake licorice ones, I do agree with you on that one. I only like Good 'n Plenty when it comes to licorice. I agree on the Jelly Bellys, too, they just aren't right.

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Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman March 26, 2010 at 1:51 pm

I love Jelly Belly jelly beans. I like taking different flavors and combining them into something else–like the recipes the box shows. I think I've spent way too much time in my life "cooking" with jelly beans. But I'm not as big of a fan of all jelly beans as you. I'm not a fan of other brands.

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balanced runner March 26, 2010 at 2:36 pm

I love all jelly beans. I'm definitely not a connoseiur, because I so rarely eat them. Recently I bought a box of Jelly Belly jelly beans and ate one every five minutes during my 45 minute commute. The reason for the slow munching is that I tend to choke on the middle part so I can hurry up and get to the next flavor. Eating one every 5 minutes definitely kept me from choking while driving and allowed me to savor the flavors! Probably won't buy them again, though.

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Geosomin March 26, 2010 at 2:57 pm

I was going to say my fave was Jelly Belly pear jelly beans…but you keep talking about SweeTart jelly beans and given my demented love for SweeTarts, I imagine I love these…even though I can't find any to snarf. I'm not much for sweet stuff…more sour candies. Even then, only a few. I'm more a salt person…

HFCS really is nasty stuff. I have been trying keep it from my body…but it's tough, as it's even (grrr) in things I don't think of to check, like I jsut discovered my favourite high fibre Nature Valley Granola Bars have it. Boo.
I think I'll have to go back to making my own granola bars and granola again…then I know it's jsut butter vanilla and brown sugar on oats and nuts…delicious…someday when I have the time…yes…sure…

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Kayla March 26, 2010 at 3:02 pm

I LOVE the Easter Russel Stover Pectin Jelly Beans… that said I have 10lbs I am trying to kick off (I am tiny and on a tiny frame it SHOWS) by healthify where I can myself… I HATE that the US (lived in Europe until recently) uses it on just about everything… or anything that doesnt use it costs a fortune.
SIGH

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azusmom March 26, 2010 at 3:04 pm

I LOVE Galaxy Granola, but AAAAARRGHH! (Sorry, my inner Pirate comes out once in a while.) I just went to the website and it says that due to the overwhelming response, they are temporarily suspending the free giveaways.
Wow, Charlotte! You have POWER!!!!!! *grin*

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Kate March 26, 2010 at 3:34 pm

I hate black licorice too! Have you ever tried the Dutch candy called "drop"? It's like ultra black licorice and is very salty and totally disgusting…you should try it, because it's truly astounding that Dutch children actually eat this candy for pleasure.

If I get granola, it's almost always from the natural foods store, where they have it in big bulk bins that you scoop out yourself. I'm not really sure if that's much healthier, but it seems to be. I actually like Swiss-style muesli the best for mixing with yogurt, but it's not easy as to find here in the US (at least where I am).

I'd love to try the raspberry flavored granola! I love anything raspberry.

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Shelly March 26, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Sigh. That's what I've been hearing! I do use honey or maple syrup to sweeten my yogurt and oatmeal. I guess I can try it in my coffee. I don't like the aftertaste of white sugar for some weird reason.

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Emily March 26, 2010 at 3:38 pm

I love orange sherbet jelly beans, although I don't have them that often. I think everything is fine in moderation, although I do think it's best to avoid highly processed foods as much as possible.
e.estt[at]yahoo[dot]com

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Anonymous March 26, 2010 at 4:22 pm

The HFCS study article was really interesting, I'm glad I went over and read it, and will definitely bump HFCS to the top of my ingredients to avoid. And on that note: I like all jelly beans except licorice, chocolate and green!

cammi99

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Marie and her life March 26, 2010 at 4:33 pm

It is jelly bean season all year round…well a little more right now, but still

mmmmm, will buy a big bag at Target and munch on it all weekend LONG!

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Jenna Z March 26, 2010 at 4:47 pm

I heard about that study on some morning show where the hosts were like "It's not even worth it, just don't even try, stop all exercise now." And I wanted to scream at the tv!!! Exercise has OTHER benefits other than just weight control. Another recent study showed that even if you gain some weight back, as long as you keep exercising you retain the benefits such as cardiovascular health and lung capacity. It isn't all about your outward appearance! And of course as we age, it becomes harder to maintain weight! Ack! I can make any data show whatever I want it to, I kind of have a love/hate relationship with health research!!

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Jenna Z March 26, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Oh yeah! And my favorite jelly beans are Trolli sour brite crawler eggs! YUM!

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SeaBreeze March 26, 2010 at 6:21 pm

I figured a study like this was coming. I love my sugar-substitutes but am slowly meaning myself off of all versions of the white-devil that elevates my blood sugar like its nobody's business.

Btw, picture of running skirt coming next Wednesday to my blog.

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Hi! I'm Erin March 26, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Hmmm, I'm not a huge fan of jelly beans, but the Jelly Belly watermelon ones aren't bad!

And apparently we broke the free sample option on Galaxy's website. Oops! I'd love to win some, though. I normally eat Bear Naked's Fit Granola which is 120 calories for 1/4 cup and only 4g of sugar (for the Vanilla Almond Crunch, anyway) but I'd love to try something different!

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Hi! I'm Erin March 26, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Hmmm, I'm not a huge fan of jelly beans, but the Jelly Belly watermelon ones aren't bad!

And apparently we broke the free sample option on Galaxy's website. Oops! I'd love to win some, though. I normally eat Bear Naked's Fit Granola which is 120 calories for 1/4 cup and only 4g of sugar (for the Vanilla Almond Crunch, anyway) but I'd love to try something different!

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Hi! I'm Erin March 26, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Hmmm, I'm not a huge fan of jelly beans, but the Jelly Belly watermelon ones aren't bad!

And apparently we broke the free sample option on Galaxy's website. Oops! I'd love to win some, though. I normally eat Bear Naked's Fit Granola which is 120 calories for 1/4 cup and only 4g of sugar (for the Vanilla Almond Crunch, anyway) but I'd love to try something different!

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Di March 26, 2010 at 8:12 pm

I'd have to go with vanilla almond or the cranberry orange. I love the natural wholesome ingredients and love granola!

Jelly beans well I don't eat them sorry so I can't comment on those.

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Trainer Momma March 26, 2010 at 8:55 pm

For their own safety, all jelly beans must be kept at least 100 ft. away from me. I LOVE JELLY BEANS. I am waiting to partake until it is actually Easter. Man, those things are addictive!

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Trainer Momma March 26, 2010 at 8:55 pm

For their own safety, all jelly beans must be kept at least 100 ft. away from me. I LOVE JELLY BEANS. I am waiting to partake until it is actually Easter. Man, those things are addictive!

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Trainer Momma March 26, 2010 at 8:55 pm

For their own safety, all jelly beans must be kept at least 100 ft. away from me. I LOVE JELLY BEANS. I am waiting to partake until it is actually Easter. Man, those things are addictive!

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Blair March 26, 2010 at 8:55 pm

I'd love to try the not sweet vanilla. I used to consume granola by the boatload because I couldn't stop myself from going back for just "one more small handful." Finally I just had to stop buying it. This stuff looks great and so much more nutritious than everything else out there.

As for jelly beans, I really don't eat them that often. I'll admit I am one of those gross people who actually enjoys the buttered popcorn flavor though!

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Jody - Fit at 52 March 26, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Got to head over to that granola site.. OMG, YUM!

I can't bring jelly beans in the house.. candy corn even more so! :-)

I love the banana & coffee flavored ones from jelly bellies!

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Jenn March 26, 2010 at 11:49 pm

I'm your sista in crime when it comes to granola. Nearly impossible to walk by the cabinet without a handful…or tow.

There is not a candy I don't like which is why I don't eat it. My fav jelly bean flavor was coconut or marshmallow. As far as Easter candy goes I can hardly look at a Cadbury egg without crying. Although I don't think they are as good as they used to be…well that's what I tell myself anyway.

The HFCS study makes me feel smug and self-righteous. ;-) Kidding.

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RegularCinderella March 27, 2010 at 2:21 am

Is it just me or do all the brown flavors look alike? Is it jerky or is it leather? Really, does it matter?

I recently (as in this week) had more than my fair share of Starburst Sour Jellybeans–I'm very disappointed they didn't make your list. I'm partial to the blue ones, although I like almost all of them. EXCEPT black licorice–GROSS!

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Michelle March 27, 2010 at 3:37 am

I love Jelly Belly jelly beans, I'm a vegetarian, so I have to watch it with those kinds of candies because of the gelatin. I like fruit flavors above all others in candy, and I like them better than chocolate even!

HFCS is evil and we are trying to avoid it like the plague, we recently switched to agave syrup for pancakes, that will no longer be happening!

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cheekypinky March 27, 2010 at 4:02 am

i am with you on the juicy pear–OM NOM NOM.
black jelly beans are of the devil,
and just naaaasty.

HFCS is no bueno, to be sure,
but honestly,
a couple of jellybeans here and there,
with the rest of your awesome exercise
and healthy nutrition plans?

you'll be okay.

(it's just the stopping at a *few* 'beans that's so damned difficult! :)

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Anonymous March 27, 2010 at 5:44 am

All these comments and no one's mentioned Jelly Belly Sugar Free?

They're delicious! Then about an hour after you eat them they make you blow up like a gassy balloon, but still!

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balancejoyanddelicias March 27, 2010 at 11:36 am

any flavor would do for me because I've never had them before so I want to try them ALL ! :)

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gingersnapper March 27, 2010 at 1:02 pm

I'm glad you mentioned that about the sugar in Kashi – I was shocked the first time I picked up a box and read the label. That's the power of marketing and packaging for you! Always read the fine print.

I LOVE jelly bellies and any kind of exotic jelly bean – but not the mushy, grainy ones you get in an Easter basket.

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Mica March 28, 2010 at 12:58 am

I am ALL about the "good" flavored Jelly Bellies. Growing up my mom even called me Shelly Belly.. (which I always thought referred to my tummy and didn't like. ahaha)

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duckierose March 28, 2010 at 5:48 am

I love Jelly Belly tutti frutti. I have no idea what it's *supposed* to taste like, but to me it tastes like happyness and birthdays.

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JC Stilley March 30, 2010 at 3:05 am

12 g of sugar in the Kashi Go Lean Crunch? YIKES! Guess I'm not buying that anymore.

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Barry August 25, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Perhaps you should take a remedial course in basic physics.

There is NO WAY that HFCS makes you gain more weight than other carbohydrates when adjusted for calories.

Sorry. It's impossible. Literally, physically, not possible.

If it were possible, we would also probably have free energy machines and other devices that violate the fundamental laws of thermodynamics.

http://barrysbodytransformation.blogspot.com

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Greg S. April 8, 2012 at 3:01 pm

HFCS in jelly beans is bad enough but learning that jelly beans ARE HFCS is disturbing. But they are *still* better for you than smoking. Oh, black jelly beans are the best! For me, anyway.

:=]

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Progeniq May 2, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Good Job. Thanks for doing such a good job. I will check here to find out more and tell my friends about this site.

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Dilbo May 7, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Jelly Beans contain corn syrup but I’ve seen nothing to indicate they contain high fructose corn syrup, which is a whole different thing. Care to share a link to your source?

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