Just like I feel like a baby when I need to drown my buffalo wings in blue cheese in order to eat them, I also feel like a baby when I pick over the Warheads and Sour Patch Kids for other, tamer candies. Just like Chrissy Teigen found out, eating sour candy can hurt! While I love a good bag of Trolli Sour Brite Crawlers or Airhead Extremes, I definitely enjoy them with caution.
What’s that "painful" feeling all about, anyway? Isn't the sour flavoring in candy just, like, a lot of sugar? Not quite, apparently. While sour candy is usually coated in sugar, that's just to tamper the sour taste to make it a little more enjoyable to eat. Otherwise, we'd just be in pain for no reason.
Sour candy, actually, is infused with a blend of different acids that result in that sharp, tangy flavoring. There's citric acid, which, as the same suggests, is found in citrus fruits -- most of which taste "sour," right? There's also ascorbic, fumaric and tartaric acid, which are all-natural but lend their properties to the addicting discomfort of the candy. Some especially sour treats contain malic acid, which gives fruits like apples and cherries their natural tartness, which is incorporated to prolong the taste for the ultimate sour experience.
The acids in sour candy contribute to the sweets' pH levels, lowering them to amounts that contribute directly to that sour taste; the pH's interaction with our tastebuds causes the "burning" sensation when we eat the candy. Of course, eating more sour candy results in more pain, since you’re essentially packing your mouth full of acid over and over again.