Cotton Candy Sugar

"I can't believe you're buying that," said my sister as I paid for the football-sized puff of baby-blue cotton candy on a paper stick. But there was a question I'd been pondering for weeks: is cotton candy the world's most sugary dessert? When you're eating cotton candy, how much sugar do you actually eat?

Aside from a minuscule amount of dye, cotton candy is pure sugar, melted and spun into a type of glass. To find out how much sugar I'd eat if I actually ate the stuff, I had to weigh it.

I weighed the candy on the paper stick, peeled it off the stick, weighed it again, and weighed the stick to double-check my math. It came out to 42.7 grams of sugar. That sounds like a lot--more than 8 Lifesavers--but on the other hand, it's about the same as a can of regular soda, and only a little more than a serving of fruit juice.

So is cotton candy the huge sugary treat it looks like? Not as much as you'd think, since most of what you see is just air). If I had split that day's cotton candy purchase among my three children, it would have been less sugar per child than giving them each a CapriSun.

Of course, how much sugar you're eating does depend on how much cotton candy you buy. My next cotton candy purchase, which had several skeins of cotton candy stuffed into a plastic bag, weighed nearly half a pound (we hurried to a nearby grocery store to find out). We only ate handfuls of that one, and experimented with the rest.

1 comment:

  1. There is lot of air then moisture in cotton candy if you take it home. To be more accurate, one needs to weight on the amount of sugar to make 1 cotton candy. According to this website (, there is about 30gr of sugar to make a typical serving size of cotton candy. Your experiment is pretty close (obviously depend on the size of cotton candy you get). Thanks for the post.


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