When It Comes to Sweets, Never Say Never

Even Candy Can Be Healthy -- in Moderation

By Jean Lawrence
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD

For some people, the scariest part of starting off on a new, healthier way of eating is the idea of giving up their favorite sweet treats -- forever!

If you're a cookie-and-candy-craver, don't despair. Sweets can be part of a healthy, lifelong eating pattern. But for the least harm and -- don't forget this -- the fullest enjoyment, they should be eaten in moderation. That means in small amounts, or only a couple of times a week. Even a woman who has made a career out of eating candy admits she has cut back her consumption to one day a week. Hilary Liftin, blessedly svelte and cavity free, wrote the critically acclaimed, tongue-in-cheek memoir Candy & Me: A Love Story.

"Candy's meaning," she says, "has more subtlety than its taste. It affords a fleeting spike of pleasure, sometimes guilty or elusive or bittersweet, like an impossible love affair."

Such romanticization aside, the smorgasbord of candy -- not to mention cheeseburgers, cookies, cakes, pies, fries, chips, barbecue, and ice cream -- that Americans consume has helped lead to skyrocketing obesity rates and a near-epidemic of diabetes.

So why would anyone in his or her right mind (sorry, Hilary) ever think it's OK to eat candy, cake, or pie?

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