This year at Wonkblog we've done data-driven investigations into the most efficient ways of getting drunk and high. We told you how to maximize alcohol and minimize calories. We helped you get the most alcoholic buzz for your buck. We even mapped the states with the cheapest weed.
But this Halloween, many of us will be in search of a different high. A legal high. A sugar high. Which made me wonder: which candy packs the biggest saccharine punch? Short of injecting corn syrup directly into your eyeballs, what's the most efficient way to deliver sugar from your mouth to your brain?
To answer this question, I compiled a list of 36 popular candy brands and performed advanced statistical analysis looked up their product descriptions on Amazon to determine their total grams per serving, the grams of sugar per serving, and hence, the overall sugar percentage for each candy. Which I've charted, below.
At just a hair over 40 percent sugar, Twizzlers are the least-sugary candy on the list. This may partially explain why Twizzlers basically taste like plastic. Butterfingers, Almond Joys and surprisingly, Laffy Taffy all weigh in at less than 50 percent sugar.
At the opposite end of the chart, Nerds, Pixie Stix and the criminally underappreciated Fun Dip are a whopping 93 percent sugar. Not coincidentally, all three have held a special place in my heart since childhood.
You'll notice that I've categorized the sweets by fruity-flavored and chocolate-flavored. Candy corn is the only common candy that defies this taxonomy, so it gets a category all its own.
In general, fruit flavors dominate the high-sugar end of the candy spectrum, while chocolate candy bars are at the low-sugar end. Chocolatey candies typically make up for their relatively low sugar content with the inclusion of other delicious ingredients, like trans fats.
Now, not to be a buzzkill, but research suggests that the so-called "sugar high" is largely a myth. But refined carbohydrates nevertheless can trigger food cravings superficially similar to cravings for drugs. And periodically, a kid will do something dumb like crushing and snorting Smarties, sending parents, teachers, and the whole nation into a frenzy over whether sugary candies are a gateway to the hard stuff - presumably, Skittles and Jolly Ranchers.
But if the sugar high is a myth tooth decay is very real, and we here at Wonkblog encourage our readers to indulge their sweet teeth responsibly. Happy Halloween!