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Ask the Diet Doctor: Anatomy of a Peep

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Novelty Easter candies have been lining grocery store shelves since retailers whisked away leftover Valentine’s sweets on February 15. And while you can’t deny the popularity of jelly beans or Cadbury Creme Eggs, Americans’ love for them pales in comparison to Peeps.

As the brightly colored foamy marshmallow treat celebrates its 60th anniversary, I figured it’s time to analyze these addicting balls of sugar.

One serving of Peeps is five chick-shaped pieces, each containing 28 calories. This may not seem like a lot, but almost all of these calories come from sugar (one Peep has 7.2 grams of carbs, 6.8 of which are sugar), meaning they’re as empty as it gets.

To put it in perspective, consider that a 2012 study showed that a high-intensity kettlebell snatch workout could burn upwards of 20 calories per minute. This means that you’d need to perform a 15-minute high-intensity kettlebell workout in order to burn off the calories from snacking on one pack of Peeps (there are two servings per pack).

What else is in Peeps other than sugar? Not much. The Peeps nutrition facts reads as follows: Sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, contains less than 0.5% of the following ingredients: yellow #5 (Tartrazine), potassium sorbate (a preservative), natural flavors, carnauba wax.

RELATED: 9 Common Foods That Contain Toxic Ingredients

Yes, carnauba wax (which is apparently non-toxic)—the main ingredient in car wax—rounds out the ingredients list of Peeps. Strangely enough, Peeps are not the only indulgence to uses carnuaba wax; it’s also found in chewing gum and chocolate-coated nuts and coffee beans.

I personally will be passing on eating Peeps at Easter, as I’ve always thought that any food preferably eaten stale shouldn’t be one that you eat at all.

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