Science and Nutrition
Obesity is a complex health issue with a wide variety of contributing factors, including excess calorie consumption, sedentary lifestyles, lack of exercise and time pressures on both families and individuals.
It is important to remember that candy and chocolate are treats, snacks or desserts. The key to maintaining a balanced diet and appropriate weight with confections, as with all foods, is to consume them in moderation, as part of an active lifestyle.
With confectionery contributing less than two percent of the average child's and adult's daily calories, we think most consumers already understand that confectionery can add a great deal of enjoyment without being a major source of calories.
However, the confectionery industry does work to provide consumers with the information they need to understand the role of confectionery in the diet, while offering a variety of options to choose the confectionery products best suited to individual lifestyles and needs. Examples include small, “snack-size,” or “bite-size” confections as well as low-fat, non-fat and sugar-free products.
We also understand that it is important for consumers to have all the information they need to make decisions about the foods eat. That's why nutrition labeling appears on all packaged candy products.
Finally, as members of the food industry, we have an important role to play in helping people recognize the contribution of diet and activity to consumers’ health and well-being. One important initiative involves working with the American Academy of Family Physicians’ Foundation on a brochure to help parents talk with children about healthy eating, A Parent’s Guide to Talking to Your Children about Diet and Nutrition. Organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs, the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and the National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) use the brochure as a resource for parents, teachers and community healthy and wellness programs.
Want more specific help on how candy can fit into your lifestyle? Take a look at Treat Smarts: A Guide to Nutrition and Activity, which provides easy-to-use guidance for parents on nutritional information for popular kinds of candy, activities to keep the family healthy and interactive ways to make mealtime fun.
Here are some other resources you may find helpful:
From the USDA:
- USDA's MyPyramid.gov helps determine how much of what variety of foods you or your children need
From the Food Information Council:
Use these resources to learn more about including candy in a healthy lifestyle.
Fun Facts about Valentine's Day
- More than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold for Valentine's Day. A survey conducted by the Chocolate Manufacturers Association revealed that 50 percent of women will likely give a gift of chocolate to a guy for Valentine's Day.
- Valentine's Day is the fourth biggest holiday of the year for confectionery purchases (after Halloween, Easter and Christmas).
- American men say they'd rather receive chocolate than flowers on Valentine's Day, especially those over the age of 50. Sixty-eight percent of men age 50 or older say they'd prefer receiving chocolate over flowers from their sweetheart on Valentine's Day, while just 22% said they'd rather have the flowers.
- On February 14, 270 A.D., Roman Emperor Claudius II beheaded a priest named Valentine for performing marriage ceremonies despite the Emperors’ decrees outlawing them.
- “Claudius the Cruel” outlawed marriages when Roman men began refusing to go to war in order to stay with their wives.
- Another Roman martyr named Valentine was jailed and passed the time by writing love letters to his captor’s daughter, signed “Your Valentine”.
- During the Middle Ages, Europeans believed that birds chose their mates each year on February 14. Legend has it that Europeans began to emulate the ornithological practice.
- It is believed that in the 17th century, lovers began exchanging mementos on Saint Valentine’s Day, perhaps heeding the words of Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “Sweets to the Sweet”.
- A natural aphrodisiac? As an elixir for love, chocolate has been believed throughout history to bring smiles to the broken-hearted and to prompt amorous feelings in both men and women. It is believed that Madame Du Barry served it to all her suitors; Casanova consumed chocolate instead of champagne to induce romance; and Montezuma, the king of the ancient Aztecs, believed chocolate would make him virile. In the 1800’s physicians commonly advised their lovelorn patients to eat chocolate to calm their pining.
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