Sugary sweet: Are 'organic,' 'natural' fruit snacks healthy?

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Successful parenting often comes down to having snacks at crucial moments, so little bags of goodies that don't need to be refrigerated and promise 100 percent recommended daily allowance of vitamin C plus real fruit are a Godsend.

Except, nutritionist Maya Feller says, when you read how much sugar these kinds of snacks usually have.

The World Health Organization advises just 15 grams of added sugar in a whole a day for kids, and yet that's the sugar content in one packet of Target Market Pantry Chews. Plus, with only eight or nine little gummies per pack, sometimes kids want more.

"Then all of a sudden, they've had 30 grams of sugar," Feller said. "That's very similar to giving them an entire pack of Starburst, which is an actual candy, around 33 grams of sugar."

And sure enough, the first few ingredients are similar -- corn syrup, sugar, fruit juice from concentrate, hydrogenated oil.

"This is so confusing when you go to the grocery store, and it says organic," Feller said. "We've been told that organic is better, but not when you're starting with a sugar, when it's the same as candy."

Target says it is "currently phasing out the Market Pantry fruit-flavored snack packages with a serving size of 26g," while Annie's distinguishes itself, saying products "are certified organic and don't contain artificial flavors, synthetic colors, or high fructose corn syrup."

Horizon says its brand is also "organic and free of artificial colors or preservatives," telling us they "add natural flavors in the fruit snacks."

The other brands mentioned declined to comment.
Copyright © 2019 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.