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Posts Tagged ‘Candy’

October 31st is a fun time. Halloween, one of the world’s oldest holidays, mingles tricks of fictitious goblins and ghosts with treats of candy. Derived from ancient festivals and religious rituals, the holiday is a contraction of All Hallows’ Eve and remains a celebration in many parts of the world. In the United States, it is the second most popular holiday, after Christmas, for decorating, candy, and costume sales.

Puritan traditions in the early years of our nation restricted the holiday. During the 19th century, the migration of some two million Irish brought Halloween to the United States. Trick-or-treat became the main event of this holiday for children in our country and Canada. Children shuffle from house to house seeking goodies, especially candy. Both children and adults dress in costumes of favorite characters.

Commercialization of Halloween in the U. S. began around the turn of the 20th century. According to the National Confectioners Association, each year more than 75 percent of Americans plan to give candy to trick-or-treaters. And Americans’ favorite Halloween candy? Chocolate, of course, with candy corn in second place.

Halloween is the largest candy-eating event of the year. Other than gaining weight or developing tooth decay, are there dangers in eating too much candy? The American Chemical Society gave this some thought in 2016 and concluded that sugar from large amounts of candy consumed in one sitting might be lethal. The probability is unlikely since most would become sick before eating enough to harm them. Based on research and mathematical equations using rats, theoretically, 1,627 pieces of candy corn eaten in one sitting could be toxic to humans. One fun-size piece of candy has about 75 calories. Eating 262 pieces equates to about 20,000 calories. If it doesn’t kill you, your conscience may as you figure out how to work off those added pounds.

While dying from an overload of Halloween candy isn’t likely, use caution in making your choices. If you are over 40, consuming two ounces of black licorice a day for at least two weeks may cause irregular heart rhythm. The sweetening compound, glycyrrhizin, in black licorice may lower potassium levels in the body resulting in high blood pressure and other heart-related problems. This candy can also interact with medications, herbal products, and dietary supplements.

As you observe this special holiday of sweet treats, keep in mind the outcomes of eating too many sweets. Teach children about moderation. The American Heart Association warns against allowing them to have large amounts of candy. Set a good example and use discretion in how much you eat. Make the holiday a treat but avoid the trick of too many calories.

 

 

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Valentine’s Day is the occasion when we celebrate love. It isn’t exclusive to lovers. We honor family and friends with gifts. Given the choice of flowers or candy, most choose chocolate, and 83 percent of Americans will make their gifting of love some type of candy or chocolate.

While candy can contribute to overweight, it isn’t usually the culprit. Candy was around long before the modern-day problem of obesity. Research indicates that those who eat candy may weigh less, not because candy doesn’t have calories (we wish), but because normal weight people incorporate it as part of a healthy diet. Interestingly, one study of 1,000 U. S. children and teens found that those who ate candy were less likely to be overweight than those who did not. I can attest to that. As a child, my parents allowed me to eat way too much candy, and yet I remained very thin.

According to the National Confectioners Association, depriving oneself of candy to lose weight may backfire. More than 70 percent of adults quit trying to eat healthy because they associate a healthy diet with giving up favorite foods. Not so.

If you receive sweets this Valentine’s Day, keep moderation in mind and ration to less than 100 calories per day. Select small, individual portions of chocolates and candies. If you choose candies other than chocolate, “Treat Right” lists the number of pieces equal to 50 to 100 calories. It isn’t uncommon for me to keep boxed chocolates a year or longer in my freezer. When the urge for chocolate strikes me, I retrieve one piece and leave the rest frozen. If the temptation to consume the entire box overwhelms you, take a piece or two, share with others, and freeze immediately. Take pleasure in allowing each piece to melt in your mouth and last for a long time. Enjoy your Valentine’s Day guilt-free with candy.

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What better time to talk about sweets than February. Romantics may express love to their Valentines with a box of candy.  Such treats have lots of sugar. As you gobble down those tasty morsels, will you think about health? Facts about sugars and sweeteners may help salve your conscience. Not all sweets are the same. Those heart-shaped goodies may contain one or all three categories of sweeteners: caloric sweeteners, sugar alcohols, or artificial sweeteners.

The most familiar caloric sweetener is sugar (sucrose). Sugar appeals to all ages. Most folks seem to come wired to enjoy sweet tastes. Is that a bad thing? Are there good or bad sugars?   

That depends on who you ask. According to the American Heart Association, most women should not consume more than 100 calories per day from sugar and most men should limit their daily intake to150 calories. That’s approximately six and nine teaspoons, respectively. On average, though, Americans eat or drink the equivalent of more than twenty-two teaspoons of sugar daily for a total of about 350 calories. To put into perspective, one twelve-ounce cola has about eight teaspoons of sugar.

America’s Sweet Tooth

The use of sugar steadily increased to an average U.S. annual intake of nearly 135 pounds. That’s a lot of sugar, and those calories can pack on pounds. Should you cut back on this favored food item?

The Sugar Association maintains that sugar is not the culprit. Many health professionals agree. Sugar is not harmful in reasonable amounts.

Some people have more of a sweet tooth than others. If you are one of those, keep candy and other sugary foods out of sight. Better yet—don’t have it in your house.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, will that candy affect your health? Will it make you fat? Read next week to find out. You may be surprised.

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