When It Comes to Sweets, Never Say Never
Even Candy Can Be Healthy -- in Moderation
For some people, the scariest part of starting off on a new, healthier way
of eating is the idea of giving up their favorite sweet treats -- forever!
If you're a cookie-and-candy-craver, don't despair. Sweets can be
part of a healthy, lifelong eating pattern. But for the least harm and -- don't
forget this -- the fullest enjoyment, they should be eaten in moderation. That
means in small amounts, or only a couple of times a week. Even a woman who has
made a career out of eating candy admits she has cut back her consumption to
one day a week. Hilary Liftin, blessedly svelte and cavity free, wrote the
critically acclaimed, tongue-in-cheek memoir Candy &amp;amp; Me: A Love
"Candy's meaning," she says, "has more subtlety than its taste.
It affords a fleeting spike of pleasure, sometimes guilty or elusive or
bittersweet, like an impossible love affair."
Such romanticization aside, the smorgasbord of candy -- not to mention
cheeseburgers, cookies, cakes, pies, fries, chips, barbecue, and ice cream --
that Americans consume has helped lead to skyrocketing obesity rates and a
near-epidemic of diabetes.
So why would anyone in his or her right mind (sorry, Hilary) ever think it's
OK to eat candy, cake, or pie?
"Some choices are better than others," says Larrian Gillespie, MD,
author of The Menopause Diet, The Gladiator Diet, and The Goddess
Diet. "You have to know the consequences before you make the
When asked about the half-pound of candy Liftin reportedly eats in a sitting
(only on Fridays, mind you), Gillespie said such a binge would definitely
affect insulin levels, stressing the body's hormone system and leading to a
slumpy, tired "crash." In other words, it might taste good going in,
but a price will be paid.
The price: You'll get hungry again sooner.
Too Much Denial Can Lead to Bingeing
But if eating too many treats can touch off more hunger, constant
self-denial can lead to dietary defiance and end up derailing all your good
intentions, Gillespie says.
"It takes a week to lose two pounds," she says, "yet you can eat
[those two pounds] on in a day. If you keep telling yourself not to eat
something, you will just get in a cycle of hopelessness and eat things you
Gillespie herself caves in to the occasional chocolate craving but tries to
keep her indulgences on the lighter side. "Last night, I microwaved some
chocolate sauce and dipped strawberries," she says. "I picked a healthy
How To Stay On Track
Liftin, hardly the Moderation Kid, says the once-a-week approach works best
"One bite is torture for me," she says. "I need to eat as much
as I want if I am going to eat it." But "I don't start eating candy
until after lunch. You have to have some standards."