Candy eating frequency unlinked to obesity, suggests NCA funded study

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Study suggests there is no correlation between increased candy-eating occasions and obesity
Study suggests there is no correlation between increased candy-eating occasions and obesity

Related tags Obesity Nutrition Nca

A study funded by the US National Confectioners Association (NCA) has not ruled out that candy may cause obesity but has suggested there is no link between the number of candy-eating occasions and the condition.

The research published in the Nutrition Journal ​by Murphy et al.​ said that adults eating candy at least every other day were no more likely to develop cardiovascular disease or be overweight than those eating once a week or less than three times a month.

Data derived from survey

The results were derived from data collected in the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys.

This survey asked over 5,000 participants aged over 19 how often they consumed candy and also measured physiologic parameters such as body mass index and blood pressure

96% of participants consumed candy. Those having under three candy-eating occasion a month were classed as infrequent consumers, those with more than thee a month but less than 3.5 a week as moderate, and more than 3.5 a week as frequent.

Author’s analysis

Lead author Mary Murphy of Exponent said: "We did not find an association between frequency of candy intake and BMI or cardiovascular risk factors among adults."

However, the study did note: “Given the cross-sectional study design, however, it cannot be concluded that candy consumption does not cause obesity or untoward levels of cardiovascular risk markers.”

The 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys have also been analyzed by the National Cancer Institute which found that candy accounted for 2% of the total caloric intake for adults (44 calories).

Refoulate & innovate, says Mars North America boss

Speaking at the NCA’s State of the Industry Conference in Miami in January, Debra Sandler, president of Mars Chocolate North America said that it was not constructive to skirt obesity questions by repeating that confectionery only accounted for 2% of calories in the diet.

She said that manufacturers should innovate to offer healthier options to consumers and should also consider reformulating to improve nutrition content.

“If we don’t [act], I worry that someone else will do it for us….Don’t wait for regulators to tell us what to do.”

Nutrition Journal​ (2013) 12:53​ 
'Body weight status and cardiovascular risk factors in adults by frequency of candy consumption'
Authors: Murphy MM, Barraj LM, Bi X and Stettler N. 

Related topics R&D Candy Health & functionality

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