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Industry Issues Index

Last Updated: March 12, 2014

Topic: Sugar in the diet

Overview:

Policy and professional groups, nutrition experts, and the scientific community generally agree that consumers can continue to enjoy sweetened foods and beverages when consumed as part of a balanced diet with a physically active lifestyle.

Statement:

Sugar has always and continues to be essential to the composition of candy products. The sweetness of sugar and the ability of sugars to crystalize are critical to the essence of candy. Additionally, sugars are important for the safety and quality of candy products. While sugars are essential to candy, they actually are not a leading source of added sugars in the diet. Candy contributes only about 6 percent of added sugars according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

While sugars are a source of calories, available scientific evidence to date shows no direct connection between total sugar intake and obesity. Typically, candy only makes up 2 percent of calories in the average American’s diet and is only eaten about two or three times a week. Perhaps because it is usually consumed in small amounts, candy consumption is not associated with increased risk of obesity or cardiovascular disease risk; in fact, some kinds of candy like cocoa and dark chocolate have been shown to improve cardiovascular disease health.

Candy and chocolate are indulgences, sweet treats that should be consumed mindfully and in moderation. Restricting treats like candy can backfire. The thought that you can’t enjoy any treats at all may increase desire for treats and ultimately lead to overeating, according to consumer and scientific research. Children may be especially susceptible to these eating behaviors, which can lead to increased weight.