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Sour and Sweet Candy Here to Stay

Despite uncomfortable side effects like a burnt tongue, people continue to enjoy all kinds of acidic sour candies.  Sour Patch Kids, one of the most popular sour candies on the market, are described in advertisements as “Sour. Sweet. Gone.”  This suggests that people enjoy them for their transition from sour acidity into tamely sweet gummy candies.  However, enjoying to many of these at once can result in very uncomfortable tongue irritation.  This is because of the outer citric acid coating.  Though they aren’t specifically referenced, Sour Patch Kids appear in a picture featured on a Facebook page dedicated to sour candy.  The rambling title of the fan page reads “Sour candy is soo good but I hate the burn on your tongue after a lot.”  The page has 1,461 fans, and it seems that despite the expected tongue irritation, people will continue to consume chewy, fruit flavored Sour Patch Kids.
In fact, it seems that many people enjoy even more intensely sour candy like Warheads and Toxic Waste despite warning labels about the risks that accompany the high levels of acidity which make these candies so sour.  Warheads, individually wrapped hard candies feature, as the name of the candy suggests, a cartoon head straining with puckered lips, bulging eyes and a bright red forehead.  Warheads are actually packaged with a warning about the irritation that consumers may experience after only a few pieces of the candy.  Even more hazardous in appearance and in name, Toxic Waste, “Hazardously Sour” bite sized candies are packaged in yellow barrel containers to appear like actual hazardous chemical waste and come with a similar warning label.  These candies are enjoyed by children not only for their flavor but also as the basis for “Dares” but also as testaments to strength and endurance for those who manage to finish the candy despite their intensely sour flavor.

Why do children and even many adults enjoy such extreme, at times painful, sour flavor?  Perhaps it’s because of the intense burst of flavor that accompanies the citric acid used in these candies, or perhaps it’s the transition from sour to pleasantly sweet.  Maybe it’s something to do with the sociability fostered by such candies in the form of contests that judge sour candy endurance or even the vocalization of pain during consumption.  Whatever it may be, it looks like sour candy will remain a popular item on the market despite warning labels and dentists’ admonition that it high levels of citric acid deplete enamel and weaken teeth.

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