I’m sort of known for my preference for organic candies. When my kids were smaller, their friends often commented that there would be organic gummies and such at their birthday parties as opposed to the more common abnormally bright-colored sweets.
So is organic any better in this case?
I had a great visit with my brother-in-law and his kids this weekend. He commented that organic candy still has the same amount of sugar as non-organic varieties. Good point! The reality is we all need to cut back on all forms of sugar. The average American consumes somewhere around 60 pounds of sugar per year. This amounts to about 75 grams, nearly 20 teaspoons, or over 300 calories per day from added sugar alone (this doesn’t include sugar from fruit or fruit juice!). This far surpasses the American Heart Association’s recommendation of no more than 37.5 grams per day (150 calories) for men and 25 grams per day (100 calories) for women. So first and foremost, we need to recognize that all forms of sugar need to be scaled back and considered a treat. To do this, we need to have most of our meals and snacks come from whole, unprocessed foods.
So why do I choose organic? To minimize the damage.
Common candies that many of our kids eat today are bright in strange, unnatural colors. These dyes can have a major impact on human behavior. In fact, our classrooms are suffering. Artificial food colors have been studied for their negative impact on Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders. However, children with or without diagnosable ADHD recognize behavioral changes associated with artificial dyes and the cumulative impact on a classroom can be significant.
In addition to artificial food dyes, many non-organic candies are made with high-fructose corn syrup. The harmful impacts of having high fructose corn syrup are worse than consuming natural sweeteners (cane sugar, honey, maple syrup). For example, risk for fatty liver disease and insulin resistance goes up when consuming HFCS compared to natural sweeteners.
Don’t confuse organic candies with candy made with artificial sweeteners as those ingredients will come with their own set of problems. You can read more about that here in a previous blog.
At the end of the day, I agree with my brother-in-law, we need to cut back on all sugar. But if you and your kids want a special treat, why not try the organic varieties? My niece and nephew even said, “I like the ones in the green bag that Aunt Tami gets.”