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Ah, that Halloween classic: the Tootsie Roll. The tubular brown candy that comes in a red, white and brown wrapper is a throwback to another era, a time when life was simpler and candy was less complicated. Even though they date back to 1896, Tootsie Rolls are still mainstays on the trick-or-treating circuit — you'll always find a large number of the chewy, chocolate candies in your child's bag of goodies at the end of the night.

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Even though they date back to 1896, Tootsie Rolls are still mainstays on the trick-or-treating circuit. ((Tootsie.com))

Though they may seem quaint, Tootsie Roll are very 2010 — they are gluten, peanut and nut free, though they do contain possible allergens such as soy and milk.

What's in it: Tootsie Roll

A 40-gram Tootsie Roll contains the following ingredients:

Sugar: Tootsie Rolls contain 19 grams of sugar in a 40-gram serving. To determine how much sugar that is, divide the grams of sugar by four, to see how many teaspoons of sugar are found in that food. In this case, a Tootsie Roll contains almost five teaspoons of sugar.

Corn syrup: Corn syrup is nutritionally the same as sugar. It's known as glucose-fructose in Canada and high fructose corn syrup south of the border. Made from corn that's milled, the resulting starch is processed into syrup. Found in everything from cereals to sauces, the average consumer ate 16.2 kilograms of high fructose corn syrup last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Partially hydrogenated soybean oil: This type of oil from soybeans has had hydrogen atoms added to it to extend its shelf life and keep it from breaking down. Less expensive than animal fats, it is a trans fat that can raise a person's risk of developing heart disease, according to Health Canada. That's because it raises levels of low-density lipoprotein or "bad" cholesterol. Tootsie Rolls  contain one gram of trans fats. According to the American Heart Association, just one per cent of a person's total calories should be from trans fats. For a person who consumes 2,000 calories a  day, that's just two grams of trans fat daily.

tootsie-nutrition

Condensed skim milk: This milk product, also known as sweetened condensed milk, is preserved through the addition of sugar. The milk is evaporated through heating at a high temperature to kill microbes, then cooled. The result is a more viscous consistency.

Skim milk contains approximately 0.5 to 0.10 per cent milk fat, making it a lower-fat option to full fat or homogenized milk. In the Tootsie Roll, the milk accounts for the calcium, which amounts to two per cent of recommended daily values.

Whey: Whey is a thin liquid created during  the production of cheese, when the curds are separated from the milk. Rich in amino acids, it is an excellent source of protein. It is often added to meal replacement powders to boost muscle growth in athletes.

Soya: Eating soy can reduce a person's risk of coronoary heart disease as it contains both antioxidants and isoflavones, naturally-occurring chemicals that can reduce the risk of cancer. However, it is also an allergen; people who are sensitive to soy should not consume products with this ingredient.

Lecithin: This additive, which is found in many foods, acts as an emulsifier in candy. Found in plants and animals, it is high in choline, a nutrient in the B family of vitamins responsible for brain health, phosphoric acid, fatty acids, and triglycerides, a form of fat.

Natural and artificial flavours: A "natural flavour" is the essential oil, essence or extract or any product of roasting or heating which contains flavouring derived from a spice, fruit, vegetable, edible yeast, herb, bark, meat, seafood, etc. An "artificial flavour" is not derived from one of these sources. Both substances have similar chemical compositions and are produced in a lab by a scientist.

Artificial flavours used in Canadian products are allowed to contain a sweetening agent, food colouring and designated classes of preservatives. They can also contain, among other things, benzyl alcohol, ethyl acetate, isopropyl alcohol and edible vegetable oil.