How Cotton Candy Works

Nutritional Values of Cotton Candy
Cotton Candy and Medical Breakthroughs
Cotton candy, long criticized for its empty calories, may be redeeming itself within the medical community because it could aid in regrowing human tissue. Researchers at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Cornell University noticed how the size and arrangement of cotton candy filaments mimicked that of the capillary system. Now, the researchers are using this idea to develop a synthetic flesh that could be implanted to supply blood to damaged tissue [source: Li].

Nutritionally speaking, the sugars in cotton candy are simple carbohydrates, so they supply your body nothing but calories -- just pure energy. Like all calories, they can contribute to weight gain, but on the other hand, a standard serving of cotton candy contains far less sugar than one can of a regular soft drink: one teaspoon of sugar versus 12.

Check out the table below to get an idea of how cotton candy stacks up to other carnival treats. Recipes and foods vary among vendors and events, but you can see that cotton candy lacks the excesses of other typical fair fare.

Estimated Nutritional Values in Fair Foods

Serving Size






Cotton candy

1 oz.


0 g

0 g

26 g

0 g

Caramel popcorn with peanuts

2 oz


4 g

150 mg

 25 g

0 mg

Cheese-flavored popcorn

2 oz


13 g

570 mg

 24 g

6 mg

Onion rings

4 oz.


25 g

425 mg

 20 g

0 mg

Corn dog

1 corn dog (about 5 oz.)


20 g

1000 mg

 11 g

37 mg

Funnel cake

8 oz.


25 g

785 mg

 35 g

70 mg

Taffy apple

1 apple (about 5 oz.)


4 g

100 mg

45 g

2 mg

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