Frequent candy consumption is not associated with the risk of obesity and heart disease, say researchers.
According to a recent data analysis, adults who consume candy at least every other day are no more likely to be overweight nor have greater risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) than moderate consumers (about once a week) or even less frequent candy eaters (less than 3 times per month).
Almost all adults reported eating candy, but there is variability in frequency and quantity consumed at a given time. Previous research has shown that candy consumers are not more likely to be overweight or have greater risk factors for chronic disease than non-consumers of candy.
This research showed that even the consumers who reported eating the most candy on a given day were not more likely to be at risk for increased weight or disease. Such findings were surprising and required further investigation which this new study set out to do, delving into the role of usual frequency of candy consumption and health/weight outcomes.
This study found that frequency of candy consumption was not associated with the risk of obesity, using objective measures such as BMI, waist circumference and skinfold thickness. Additionally, frequency of candy consumption was not associated with markers of cardiovascular disease risk including blood pressure, LDL- and HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides and insulin resistance.
Frequency of candy consumption was based on analyses of food frequency questionnaires and data from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) - the most recent data set in which these food frequency questionnaires were available - of more than 5,000 U.S. adults ages 19 and older.
The study certainly doesn't provide evidence that candy can be consumed without limits. However, these results suggest that most people are treating themselves to candy without increasing their risk of obesity or cardiovascular disease.
More research is needed to further understand the role candy plays in life and the best tips for candy lovers to include their favorite treats as a part of a happy healthy lifestyle.
The finding was published last month in the Nutrition Journal.