Candy fans stay slim: Too good to be true?

By Staff Writer • Published: October 4th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Snack on sugar and stay slim. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, just in time for Halloween, scientists have found that regularly succumbing to your sweet tooth isn’t so sinful after all.

Researchers from Louisiana State University found there’s a candy corn kernel of truth to this paradox. After analyzing diet surveys of more than 15,000 adults over a five-year period, they found that people who indulge in a little candy and chocolate every day actually tend to weigh less and have smaller waists and a lower body mass index than those who don’t.

In fact, those with a sweet tooth had a 14 percent lower risk of elevated blood pressure and a 15 percent decreased risk of having metabolic syndrome — a precursor for heart disease and stroke.

But this delectable data should be taken with a grain of salt. Of course, moderation is key — the participants who admitted they had a sweet tooth indulged in a daily dose of about one ounce of candy on average. That’s about a handful of chocolate chips, or about 130 calories.

The scientists also said candy eaters, while taking in more calories than non-candy eaters, also tend to exercise more to make up for their treat. And because the diet survey asked participants to recall what they ate 24 hours prior, they could have simply forgotten or omitted that cupcake they enjoyed in the breakroom at work.

Nonetheless, nutritionists say candy can be part of a healthy diet, so long as added sugar makes up no more than one-tenth of your daily caloric intake.

So this Halloween, feel free to pick away at your kid’s stash of leftover sweets or treat yourself to some chocolate from the office bowl. Keep in control, burn a few more calories and your waistline will be no worse for the wear. How’s that for a sweet deal?