This study was conducted to assess the effects of candy consumption on body mass index, fatty acid levels, and the risk of heart disease and metabolic syndrome. The study was conducted on adults over the age of 18. Dietary recall surveys were conducted and it was found that candy consumers faced a 14 percent lower risk of high blood pressure. Those who consumed chocolate had a 19 percent reduction in risk of lowered high-density lipoprotein and 15 percent reduced risk of metabolic syndrome.
Candy and chocolates are a source of added sugars and fats. According to the World Health Organization, only 10% of the total energy stored in the body should be derived from sugars. However, the recommended values issued by the American Heart Association and the Institute of Medicine are quite different. There is no standard for the total recommended value of sugar that may be consumed. Added sugars have been linked to various ailments like dental caries, obesity, heart diseases, and even cancer. This study was conducted to examine the long-term effects of candy on blood pressure, lipid profile, and the risk of heart disease.
- Data from participants, aged 19 years and older, who participated in three previous studies, was analyzed. There were 15,023 participants.
- Data on the dietary intake in each of these studies was obtained through a 24-hour dietary recall interview, from each of the participants. Diet quality was determined using the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) of 2005.
- Blood analysis for lipid and sugar content was done. A few physical parameters including blood pressure, body mass index and waist circumference were measured.
- It was found that 21.8 percent of the subjects were candy consumers (of any candy type) and 12.9 percent were chocolate consumers.
- The total energy intake was higher in candy consumers (9973 kJ), as compared to those who did not consume candy (9027 kJ). Total energy intake of chocolate consumers was greater than that of the candy consumers.
- Candy consumers weighed significantly less (79.5 kg) than the non-consumers (80.7 kg). They also had lower body mass indices and waist circumferences. Chocolate consumers had higher levels of ”good” lipoproteins than those who did not consume chocolates.
- Chocolate consumption reduced the risk of lowered “good” lipoprotein levels and the risk of metabolic disease by 19 percent and 15 percent respectively.
As with all studies, 24-hour dietary recalls could be biased, especially considering inaccurate reporting by the participants. The diet intake of a single day may not coincide with the longer-term effects of candy or food. The previous studies that formed the basis for the current study had a different design and were inappropriate for a good comparison. Since the candy groups were combined, the effects of a single type of candy may have become altered.
The results of the study showed that only about 20 percent of adults consumed candy, which is a rather low figure. The actual amount of candy consumed by them was also low, reading 9 g per day per person. Analysis of data from the previous three studies had shown an increase in the energy, added sugars and fatty acids, resulting from candy consumption. Although the sugar and fat consumption increased, there was no reflection of the same on the weight, blood pressure, markers of oxidative stress, risk of heart disease or metabolic syndrome. In fact, candy consumers weighed less than those who did not consume it. Those consuming only chocolates weighed even less. Previous studies had shown that dark chocolate had a positive effect of lowered risk of heart diseases and this study confirmed the same. Thus, considering the effects of candy in a holistic perspective, the total amount of candy consumed in this study was not associated with adverse health effects.
For More Information:
Candy Consumption and Health
The Journal of Nutrition Research, 2011
By Carol E O’Neil; Victor L Fulgoni III
From the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Baton Rouge, Los Angeles and Nutrition Impact, LLC, Battle Creek, Michigan
*FYI Living Lab Reports Are Summaries of the Original Research.