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Indulge Guilt-Free: Enjoying Candy on a Keto Diet During the Holidays with Curly Girlz Sugar-Free Confections

Indulge Guilt-Free: Enjoying Candy on a Keto Diet During the Holidays with Curly Girlz Sugar-Free Confections

The holiday season is notorious for its temptations, with candy canes, chocolate truffles, and gingerbread cookies at every turn. Sticking to your keto diet can be a challenge, but it doesn't mean you have to miss out on the fun. Thanks to the sugar-free options available today, you can enjoy the sweetness of the holidays without compromising your diet.
Paula Trenda
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Sweet Success Sweetener

Holiday Baking with Sweet Success Sweetener: The Perfect Sugar Alternative for Your Festive Treats

Sweet Success Sweetener: Your Key to Guilt-Free Holiday Baking. Discover the Magic of All-Natural Sweetness. Holiday baking just got a whole lot sweeter and healthier with Sweet Success Sweetener. Say goodbye to the guilt and excess calories that come with traditional sugar and say hello to the delight of sugar-free, yet equally delicious, treats. So, fire up your ovens, grab your mixing bowls, and get ready to experience the sweet success of healthy holiday baking.

Paula Trenda
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Is our sweetener blend healthy and safe? YES!

Is our sweetener blend healthy and safe? YES!

At Curly Girlz Candy we make your health and safety a top priority. Our blend, Sweet Success™ is a mix of Allulose, Erythritol, and Stevia, with Allulose making up the main sweetening agent. By now you’ve undoubtably seen the headline that erythritol is causing clots, heart attacks and strokes. The main stream media has taken a very small study and ran with the headline that consuming erythritol is unhealthy. But is this actually the case?

What is erythritol? Erythritol occurs naturally in some foods. It's also made when things like wine, beer, and cheese ferment. It is produced naturally in our bodies, as well. It is considered a sugar alcohol (like xylitol, maltitol, sorbitol) but does not have the bloating effect that other sugar alcohols have. It is also zero calorie and doesn’t raise glucose levels in humans.

The Study. An alarm was raised when in a recent study, The Cleveland Clinic studied around 4,000 people in the United States and Europe to find those with higher blood erythritol levels had an elevated risk for a major adverse cardiac event, including heart attack, stroke, or death. The study deduced that elevated levels of polyols (sugar alcohols) were associated with an increased three-year risk of major adverse cardiovascular events, defined as nonfatal myocardial infarction (heart attack), stroke, or cardiovascular death.

All of this information sounds frightening and makes you wonder if anything with erythritol is safe. However, according to Dr. Jayne Morgan, cardiologist and clinical director of the COVID Task Force at the Piedmont Hospital/Healthcare in Atlanta, noted that although the study did draw a correlation between erythritol levels and poor cardiovascular outcomes, this is “not the same thing as a cause and effect. It’s important to note that this was a clinical observation study that could not establish causation.” Oliver Jones, a professor of chemistry at RMIT University in Victoria, Australia, explained “As the authors themselves note, they found an association between erythritol and clotting risk, not definitive proof such a link exists,” Jones, continued saying, “Any possible (and, as yet unproven) risks of excess erythritol would also need to be balanced against the very real health risks of excess glucose consumption,” Jones said.

Another thing noted were the volunteers being tested. Participants were far from healthy. According to the study, they were on average between 63 and 75 years of age, overweight, had high blood pressure, over 20% had diabetes, over 13% smoked, and over 70% had existing cardiovascular problems. Every one of these factors carries a significant and increased risk for of major adverse cardiovascular event, above and beyond any erythritol connection.

Others have said an argument could be made that people who ingest many highly processed foods tend to have overall unhealthy lifestyles, including poor diet and lack of exercise, which may be linked to the increase in adverse outcomes. The Mayo Clinic even states health agencies have clarified that sugar substitutes do not cause serious health problems. Some research on long-term, daily use of artificial sweeteners suggests a link to a higher risk of stroke, heart disease and death overall. But that is mostly influences by the other things people do, or rather, do not do, that may be the cause of the higher risk.

Erythritol is generally considered safe (GRAS) for human consumption by both the FDA and European Union. It is found to be better and with fewer concerns than sorbitol, maltitol, and xylitol, especially within the digestive track. Until there is further concrete evidence that erythritol is causing these issues, we will continue to use it, in small amounts, in our candies.

An interesting note in this small study is that the test subjects were given 30g of straight erythritol (sugar alcohol) as a serving. At Curly Girlz Candy, we have between 1g and 3g of erythritol (sugar alcohol) per serving which is considerably less than most other brands and sugar-free items on the market, making our candies safe to enjoy by a wide range of consumers.

Paula Trenda
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Why we never use maltitol

Sugar-free products continue to appeal to Americans desire to reduce their sugar consumption, at Curly Girlz Candy, we’ve never used maltitol or other artificial sweeteners and were the first to create sugar-free caramels, brittles, and toffees sweetened with Allulose, Erythritol, and Stevia.  
Paula Trenda
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Reviews and More!

Cindy's CookbookThank You

We had a great review from Cindy Anschutz Barbieri on our new Hemp brittle, as well as some of my favorites! You can read her review here.



Cindy is a consultant and life-style chef. With her background in creating fresh, homemade, family-focused cuisine and home entertaining know-how, Cindy has appeared on numerous local and national television cooking segments and radio shows. Cindy was also on the FoodNetwork’s, Cutthroat Kitchen, Hallmark Channel’s Better Show, and Dr. Oz. She is the author of the highly praised cookbooks Cindy’s Table: Bring Italy to Your Home, and Paleo Italian.


Upcoming Events

Want to try some tasty candy? Are you around St. Paul or Rochester, MN? Join us at 2 Holiday Events and pick up all your holiday candy and gifts.


6th Annual Union Depot Holiday Bake Sale

Saturday, December 8th from 10 am to 5 pm

Event activities include: baking and cooking demonstrations by top local chefs, cooking ideas with Alexis Thompson from myTalk 107.1 - Minneapolis/St. Paul, musical performances, food and drink pairing workshops, cake walks and more! Refreshments will also be available for purchase. New this year: there will be no fee to enter the Holiday Bake Sale. Holiday Bake Sale themed treat boxes will be available for purchase.

2018 Holiday Bazaar: A Makers Market

Saturday, December 15th from 9 am - 12 noon

The Holiday Bazaar will be taking place at the same time as (and sharing space with) Rochester Downtown Farmers Market in Graham Park, Building 31 (Floral Hall), on the second floor. 

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Month 2 - Eat Candy, Lose Weight

So its been a little over 60 days since I decided to cut sugar and follow a more ketogenic diet. I was super strict the first 30 days and lost an amazing 23lbs. The second 30 days I took quite a few more liberties - especially with celebrations and events. Needless to say tequila isn’t the best option to keep on track. It was very tasty going down, but then I want chips, salsa, and queso dip…definitely not keto-friendly on the chip.

I wasn’t totally terrible and off the wagon, so to speak. I did a 60 hour fast (not sure I want to do that again working around candy!). I know I was light on fat and heavy on healthy carbs. All things said and done, I did still lose weight - 6 lbs to be exact. It could have been more, but at least it’s heading in the right direction - down! A weight loss of 29lbs in 2 months is hardly worth sneezing at.

The next 30 days will be stressful as we ship some large orders and try to keep up and make more candy for Christmas, but I am committed to making dinners in the crock pot and having healthy snacks at the store to munch on. My 90 days in should show another larger drop.

I know this is a journey and not a race. Life is meant for living and if I deny myself a little treat now and then, I’ll fall off the wagon hard. Luckily, I have a whole selection of healthy keto candy to choose from. My current favorite is the Hemp Brittle with it’s buttery, cinnamon flavor. But I’ll always love the almond toffee and pecan clusters.

Sugar Free Dark Chocolate Almond Toffee


ENJOY 10% our
4 ounce Bags of Almond Toffee and Hemp Brittle

(no code needed, while supplies last)

Sugar Free Hemp Brittle

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Hemp Brittle

Why Hemp in Candy?

Hemp is an up and coming super food that has been around for centuries. Chinese have been using hemp oil for at least 3000 years, Often people confuse Hemp with Marijuana. Although they come from the same species, Hemp has trace amounts of THC and thus won’t give you a high as you’d receive in consuming marijuana. Hemp has 100’s of uses, especially in food as hemp seeds are exceptionally nutritious and rich in healthy fats, protein and various minerals.
Paula Trenda
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Eat Candy, Lose Weight

I sell candy. Why, because I LOVE candy. Always have. Some people crave salty and crunchy treat, but not me. If given the choice between chips or chocolate, I’ll pick chocolate every time. My favorite chocolates are filled with creamy caramel and crunchy nuts. Yummy! So what does any of this have to do with losing weight? Well, I’m here to tell you that you can enjoy chocolate and still lose weight.

After the Steele County Fair, I decided it was time to get serious about my health. I owed it to my family, my employees, but most importantly I owed it to myself. So after our county fair ended on August 19th, and I was no longer tempted by smells of deep fried cheese curds (my favorite) and cotton candy, I embarked on my journey. Since August 20th I’ve been following a pretty strict Keto diet. I’ve focused on no sugar, no grains, and lots of veggies, proteins, and healthy fats – and of course two to three pieces of sugar free candy every day!

In the last 30 days I’ve lost 23lbs and feel much better. My energy level is higher, I am sleeping better, my feet don’t hurt as bad after making chocolate for 8 hours and clothes are looking better. So over the next year, my focus will be on my health and your health, while continuing to enjoy my daily dose of candy (sugar free, of course)!

At Curly Girlz Candy we have set ourselves apart with our sugar free line of candies that are always maltitol free, preservative free, amazingly delicious, and handcrafted each week. As I write this I’m munching on a couple dark chocolate pecan clusters (remember I love chocolate, caramel, and nuts). Why not try some for yourself? To celebrate my weight loss the first 25 customers who spend $50 or more in-store or online will receive a FREE 2 ounce bag of our NEW Sugar Free Hemp Brittle! That’s right, you can get it free before you can buy it. But hurry, this offer is limited to the first 25 customers.

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Experimentation Monday!

Experimentation Monday!

Turns out this little seed is being called a “super food.” Why, you ask? According to data, Hemp is unique because the seeds contain nearly perfect balance of omega 3 to omega 6, plus iron, vitamin E, and all of the essential amino acids our bodies need. Hemp seeds are said to be the most nutritionally complete food source in the world. In addition, there is no known allergen to Hemp Seeds, so it’s safe for people with nut and seed allergies.
Paula Trenda
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What is a Keto Diet? Can I Still Enjoy A Treat?

What is keto? What is ketosis? What has any of this to do with candy?

All right, readers. We shall take a step back from hearing hilarious stories about my first bouts of candy-making, and turn our attention to Curly Girlz’ Keto-Friendly Candies (aka the Sugar Free line). This will be a series of posts, so stay tuned until the very end! This first section will talk about what a keto diet is, and where it gets its name from.

It seems almost everyone is talking about “keto” these days. The first time I heard the word, I thought it was some sort of exercise stretch, falling somewhere between yoga and jogging. Needless to say, that’s not correct. So, let’s start this series at the beginning—a very good place to start—by asking, just what is a ketogenic diet?

For those of you who don’t already know, the ketogenic diet (affectionately known as “keto”) is a protein restricted, very low-carb diet specifically designed to result in ketosis. 

But what is ketosis? you may inquire.

Well, ketosis is when the human liver produces ketones which are then used as the body’s fuel. The idea behind the ketogenic diet is that your body switches from using glucose as its fuel and starts using ketones instead. When you go on this “keto” diet, or this “Low Carb High Fat” diet, your insulin levels become very low and fat burning dramatically increases. In other words, your keto diet helps your body become its own fat burning machine! Not only that, but with our Sugar Free line, you can STILL have CANDY during a DIET. Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it?

Stay tuned for more information in our second post, where we’ll talk more about the ketogenic diet and how it can help heal your body!

To learn more about keto, check out the Diet Doctor’s website at dietdoctor.com

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Low Carb/Sugar Free Caramel Musings

In Pursuit of Creating an Exquisite Sugar Free Caramel

In an effort to reduce the amount of sugar we eat (ok, ok, I eat), I have been working on creating a sugar-free, chemical-free, naturally sweetened caramel that’s low in carbs and high in natural flavors. I love caramel, but as you know it gets its name from caramelizing the sugar and without sugar, no caramel flavor or color.

I know there are sugar-free caramels, but the majority are sweetened with Malitol (Maltitol is a sugar alcohol that is 75–90% as sweet as sugar and nearly identical properties, except for browning. It is used to replace table sugar because it is half as caloric, does not promote tooth decay, and has a somewhat lesser effect on blood glucose) and are artificially flavored. Most sugar-free ice creams and confections are sweetened with Malitol, since it reacts a lot like sugar with less calories. I think it has a weird aftertaste and add to that fact it has a laxative effect, and I think I’ll pass. There are a lot of nice sugar alternatives on the market, besides Malitol, that I’ve used successfully over the years. I now create my own natural sweetener blend that works well.

Most caramel recipes also call for corn syrup, glucose syrup, honey or similar liquid sweeteners. I’ve never found a corn and low/sugar free corn syrup product until now. This product has a viscosity (color, thickness, pourability) just like corn syrup but without any real flavor and most importantly, no aftertaste. Combine my natural sweetener blend with the new “faux” corn syrup sweetener, fresh cream, and of course, the fabulous Hope Butter, and we have the makings of some good caramel.

Batch 3 of the sugar free caramel...almost there!

My first try at the caramel had a nasty aftertaste. When I say nasty, I mean nasty – worse than diet candies of the 80’s.  I think I blended too much stevia into the “sugar” mix - yuck. Also, it cooked fast and didn’t have any caramel color. I tried creating the caramel just like I do my Award-Winning Sea Salt Caramel. It was a no go.  My second attempt went much better. I was much closer but still not a lot of caramel color but less of an aftertaste.  For my 3rd attempt, I changed up the recipe and sweetener blends, leaving out the stevia. It is great tasting, has a nice light caramel color from browning the butter, has a nice smooth texture, but it too soft. I should have cooked it a few degrees longer.  I’m one step closer to the finished product.


There is nothing better than biting into a soft, smooth creamy caramel – especially when it’s covered in chocolate and it's healthy. I’m shy of saying I have the perfect sugar-free/low carb caramel, but I’m really close. Stay tuned for more updates and when it’ll be ready. Then watch Facebook, Twitter and email for public taste testing events!

Hint, hint…can you say sugar-free salted nut roll….hmmm, yes please!

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