Candy and Cucumbers

June has been deemed National Candy Month. Why? I don’t know…but apparently it is true.

While candy can be a perfectly acceptable indulgence when consumed in moderation, the fact is that the typical American diet contains way more discretionary calories (calories from candy, sugar-sweetened beverages, cookies, salty snacks, etc) than recommended (read this study). Data from the NHANES surveys (abstract here) tracking the dietary intake in our country from 1971 to 2000 shows that discretionary caloric intake has increased over time to make up approximately 30% of total daily caloric intake.

Another study (abstract here) looking specifically at candy intake in the office setting found that when candy dishes are present individuals will consume an average of just over 3 pieces per day. When the candy was more visible (in a clear instead of opaque container) intake increased to an average of 5.6 pieces per day, and when candy was kept visible and placed closer to the study participants’ desk, consumption increased to 7.7 pieces of candy per day. Depending upon the type of candy in the bowl, consuming that many pieces a day could result in an increase of anywhere from 170 calories (Hershey’s kisses) to over 550 calories (fun size Snicker’s bars)! The simple solution here: Get rid of the office (or home) candy bowl!

Now, I am not saying to never enjoy candy. I am saying to consume in consciously and sensibly. June is also National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month. I think we all know fruits and vegetables are good for us, so I will spare you the lecture! For the rest of the month, try to eat one more serving of fruits or vegetables each day and perhaps even swap out the candy jar with a bowl of fresh fruit!

Enjoy the weekend and check back Monday for a tip on how to increase activity on days when you don’t have time for a workout!

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