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The worst Valentine’s Day candies you can buy

Valentine's Day candy

By Hanna Brooks Olsen for

Around this time last year, we told you about some healthy-ish chocolate products for Valentine’s Day. Yesterday, we rounded up some DIY vegan treats for Cupid’s day. But the drug store candies in this gallery are neither vegan, nor healthy. For a month that’s all about hearts, some of the products on the shelves are definitely not on the side of cardiovascular health.

This week, I strolled through the “seasonal” aisle at every convenience and drug store in my neighborhood, examining labels, calculating calories, and checking out ounces to find the least healthy, most sugary Valentine’s Day candies on the market.

I’m not singling these candies out because they highly caloric–although they are. But you don’t have to be on a diet or even remotely concerned about these plastic-wrapped sweets: the amount of fat, sugar, and artificial crud in the following candies is just plain unhealthy in anything other than extreme moderation.

Enjoy these candies at your own risk.

1. Raspberry chocolate-coated Peep: Peeps used to be Easter-specific. But add a little food coloring, artificial flavoring, and chocolatey coating, and voila! Seasonal! This candy is pretty low in calories (just 110, which is still a lot for a single candy) and sugar, but the presence of Red #3 and Blue #1 (at least one of which has been banned in other countries) make it a good candidate for the “candies to avoid” list. Also, it smells like a funeral home.

2. Marshmallow caramel heart: You’ll be seeing quite a bit of Russel Stover on this list–mostly because they’re one of the most prolific makers of Valentine’s Day candy. Also, because they make stuff like this marshmallow, caramel, and chocolate monstrosity. It’s lower in calories than the other candies–just 120 in the whole thing–but at just an ounce, it amounts to 16% of a person’s daily saturated fat allowance, and 15 grams of sugar.

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