Doctor reveals 'worst' type of sweet to eat for your health

If you've got a sweet tooth there's one treat you should avoid, according to one doctor. Doctor Deborah Lee, from the Dr Fox Online Pharmacy, said that although it's okay to enjoy sweets and chocolate in moderation, excessive consumption can take a toll on our health.

According to statistics from YouGov, about 40% of Brits admit to daily sweet treats, with 34% indulging a few times per week and 14% a few times monthly. But among these tempting treats, certain types necessitate further caution, with some being devastatingly more unhealthy than others.

In light of this, nutritional therapist Dr Lee identified Jelly Babies as the most damaging sweet, pointing out their high sugar content, even though they've been a beloved UK treat for over a century. Despite their small size, four of these colourful soft jelly sweets pack around 87 calories and a significant 20 grams of sugar.

Dr Lee stressed: "UK adults are recommended to eat no more than 30g of sugar per day, and for children aged seven to 10 years, no more than 24g of sugar in a day. Eating too much sugar is linked to weight gain, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and fatty liver disease."

She explained. "In some people, a high-sugar diet has been shown to increase the risk of pancreatic cancer. Sugar in sweets is more dangerous for health than sugar in chocolate which washes off the teeth the sugar in sweets sticks to the tooth surface and encourages tooth decay."

Dr Lee continued: "Jelly Babies have almost no nutritional value. They contain zero fat, and only 0.3g of protein per jelly baby. They contain one per cent calcium and two per cent potassium - but only a trace of salt and zero iron. They also contain zero dietary fibre."

She added that Jelly Babies have a high glycaemic index 78 around the highest GI index of any sweets or chocolates. "After eating high GI foods, the pancreas has to produce a sudden surge of insulin, to cause the high glucose level to fall," she said.

"If you constantly eat jelly babies, and continually stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin, over time this creates health risks."

Dr Lee's warning was backed by Good To Know, which ranked Jelly Babies as the "unhealthiest" sweet overall due to their calorie and sugar levels. If you are experiencing a craving for confectionery though, the expert advised picking dark chocolate. Dr Lee explained the health benefits of dark chocolate, saying: "This is healthy because dark chocolate is made from a natural product a plant. The beans of the cacao tree. It is made from roasting and de-shelling cocoa beans. The remaining contents are then ground into a paste called cocoa paste."

"This contains large quantities of polyphenol substances found in plants that have health benefits for humans. In general, the higher the cocoa content. the healthier it is."

She advised opting for dark chocolate with 70-85 per cent cocoa solids for the best health benefits. "Chocolate is a good source of iron," Dr Lee continued. "It also contains magnesium, copper, manganese, B2 and B6. The polyphenols in cocoa have a very powerful antioxidant effect. This is very important for good health."

However, she stressed the importance of moderation. "In medical studies, only small amounts of dark chocolate are eaten every day around 20-30g. This is around two to three large squares. Don't overdo it - Dark chocolate is high in caffeine and contains theobromine - eating too much can cause headache, insomnia, feeling jittery, nausea and diarrhoea. It is also high in calories and does contain sugar so can contribute to weight gain if eaten in excess."