No foolin’, a new study shows that candy eaters have, on average, smaller waists and a lower body mass index than people who avoid the stuff. Setting aside the issue of cavities, does this mean chocolate and candy are new weapons in the fight against childhood obesity?
Unwrap a Tootsie Pop and let’s find the sweet spot in the study:
Carol O’Neil, of Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, and her colleagues based their Candy is OK conclusions on surveys of 150,000 adults from 1999 to 2004. Around 20 percent reported having eaten candy the day before. Those who reported eating candy in the previous 24 hours had an average BMI of 27.7 — those who said they didn’t eat candy? 28.2. Yet the candy consumers ate more sugar and calories in that 24-hour period than the abstainers.
Before noshing on that second peanut butter cup, realize this: that’s less than a point’s difference in BMI. And also? The survey’s were self-reported and based on a person’s recall. These kinds of surveys often result in people listing what they would have liked to have eaten, rather than what they did eat. It’s also possible some candy-eaters forgot about the Snickers bar they had with afternoon coffee.
What’s really at issue when it comes to overweight and obesity in the U.S. isn’t candy consumption, Katherine Tallmadge, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association told reporters. Instead, it’s consumption of too many calories, period. Often, those calories come from junk food, soda and portions that are simply too large.
Still, it’s nice to know that moderation is still key. So what the heck, go on with the second Reese’s cup (but then stop!).
Photo: Orin Zebest via flickr