Saturday, August 31, 2013

Holiday Candy

Top: Halloween candy, Thanksgiving candy
Bottom: Christmas candy, Valentine's Day candy
Today is Saturday, August 31, 2013.

I joined Weight Watchers last year at about this time, and I noticed that the local grocery store began to put out holiday candy in the entryway in late August, just after school started.  It's the same this year.  Summer isn't even over yet, and the display table is already heaped with Halloween candy.  Well before Halloween, when supplies of Halloween treats are running low, they will start putting out Thanksgiving candy.  Before Thanksgiving, they will switch to Christmas candy, and right after Christmas, they will put out the Valentine's Day candy.  Without interruption, they will begin stocking Easter candy.  Since Easter Sunday is on April 20th in 2014, it will not be until late April that the candy is gone. 

Easter candy
How I hate holiday candy!

This past spring, I was so happy when they switched the front-end display from candy to fresh fruit, which I love and can eat a lot of on the Weight Watchers diet.  The strawberries, grapes, raspberries and peaches were wonderful this year.  (And yes, I've lost some weight: 25 pounds so far.)

Frankly, if I had kids, I would hate going grocery shopping, because the candy is the first thing the kids see for months and months and months.  Eight out of twelve months, to be precise!

When I was a grad student at the University of Minnesota, I had a part-time job at Target, and I remember working during all the holidays.  I couldn't believe how much candy people bought, how much money they spent on it, and how heavy the bags of candy were.  No wonder people gain weight on candy!  Try it yourself: Next time you go to the store, pick up a bag of candy and see for yourself how much it weighs.  Multiply that by three or five, the amount that many people buy, and see how heavy it is.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD, of TV fame, and Dr. Gerry Curatola, DDS, say that average American eats 135 to 150 pounds of sugar per year.  About 35 percent of that gets stored as fat, for a typical, slightly overweight person.  The amount of sugar Americans eat is going up.  Forbes magazine says that the average American consumes 3,550 pounds of sugar in an entire lifetime!  That's enough sugar to fill an industrial-sized Dumpster!

The average adult in America eats 22 teaspoons of sugar per day, while the average child eats 35 teaspoons of sugar per day.   They get it from soft drinks, candy, cakes, cookies, pies, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, milk, and foods made of grains such as wheat and corn (because starches break down into sugars in the body).  The average American drinks 53 gallons of soft drinks per year.  Sugars account for at least 500 calories per day.

Forbes also reports that according to brain scans, sugar is as addictive as cocaine! No wonder the urge to eat sweets is so powerful!

I'm so glad I gave up drinking soda pop a long time ago, and I stopped storing refined sugar in my cupboard when I got cancer five years ago.  I have cut down considerably on the bread that I eat, and I no longer eat much ice cream or candy. 

Still, it's hard to walk past that candy display in the grocery store!  :-/

No comments: