A new study shows candy and chocolate lovers tend to weigh less, have lower body mass indices (BMI) and waist circumferences, and have decreased levels of risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and metabolic syndrome.
The findings are positive, but lead researcher Carol O'Neil, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, cautions it is all things in moderation.
The study examined the association of candy consumption (broken into three categories: total candy, chocolate or sugar) on total energy intake (calories), nutrient intake, diet quality, weight status, CVD risk factors and metabolic syndrome in more than 15,000 U.S. adults 19 years of age and older based on 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data.
Results of the study showed that while candy contributed modestly to caloric intake on days it was consumed, there was no association of total candy intake to increased weight/BMI-suggesting that over time, consumers were able to balance longer-term caloric intake.
"The DGAs devote a whole chapter to helping consumers understand the key principles of weight management: know how many calories your body needs, learn the calorie content of foods and beverages, and recognize the correlation between the two," said Roger A. Clemens, University of Southern California, and 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee member.
"It's all about balance, moderation, variety in the diet and physical activity - and this study suggests some candy consumers may understand how to navigate the calorie equation, he added.
The study is published in Nutrition Research.