lycasin

What’s In Those Haribo Gummy Bears?

In all fairness, you were warned. The Amazon description for sugar-free Haribo Gummy Bears reads, in part: “This product is a sugarless/sugarfree item with ingredients that can cause intestinal distress if eaten in excess.”

“Intestinal distress,” in this case, might be an understatement for what a series of viral Amazon reviews call, “trumpets calling the demons back to Hell,” “guttural pronouncement so loud it threatened to drown out my own voice,” and “100% liquid. Flammable liquid. NAPALM.”

So why is it that gummy bears, an otherwise delicious, springy snack, become so sphincter-confounding once the sugar is removed?

Read more. [Image: [jromero]/flickr]

Sugarless Gummy Bears Are Not Safe for Humans

There has been lots of talk on the internet lately about Haribo sugarfree gummy bears and how they make you make shit like a madman. According to these detailed Amazon reviews, just a handful of the bears can cause an immediate evacuation of the gastrointestinal tract. There are 53 pages of reviews on Amazon, each one topping the last with a story of gummy-fueled diarrhea nightmares. “Gastric exorcism at 30,000 feet,” a reviewer named I Like Cheese wrote. “Don’t use the bathroom on a Delta flight. That stench is from me, seven years ago.”

I’m no avid Amazon shopper or reader of online reviews, but I’ve scanned my share and have never seen anything close to the kind of in-depth reporting that’s found on the Haribo sugarfree gummy bear Amazon reviews page. The metaphors are akin to something the poet John Donne would have written with after a particularly stinging shit.

“Gastric exorcism?” “Liquid razorblades?” I wasn’t buying it. This whole thing seemed like a stupid internet hoax—an excuse for people to pen elaborate fictions about their somewhat irregular but ultimately harmless gummy bear-induced shits. The reporter in me knew what had to be done. I bought a few pounds of the day-glo bears at a candy store in Manhattan and found myself in the VICE offices late last Saturday night, shoving handfuls in my mouth, determined to find out the truth.

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Haribo Sugarless Gummi Bears and their effects if over-consumed: a series of survivors tales of woe, revenge, and absolute horror.

They’re long reads, but they are absolutely worth reading each one.  And they are actual reviews on Amazon. 

At this point, I don’t care if some of these reviews were just works of fiction: the entertainment from those reviews alone has been one of the greatest things I’ve read recently. I almost feel I should send them $20 out of respect for the entertainment I have received, maybe even buy a bag.

Almost. 

As a side note, an FYI even, these apparently are sweetened with Lycasin.  Which, if taken too much, can have some interesting side effects. 

“Lycasin side effects in adults include bloating, intestinal gurgling or rumbling (borborygmi), and flatulence. Some cases of severe intestinal distress have resulted from consuming excessive quantities of foods containing Lycasin. Prolonged or acute diarrhea may be a sign of Lycasin poisoning and individuals should seek immediate medical help if they experience these symptoms.”