Thursday, May 10, 2007

Candy Doesn't Kill

Considering the large selection of kosher snack available, especially in Boro Park, I'm sure most households are full of candy containing loads of sugar, food colorings, corn syrup, and chemicals. Perhaps that's why there are some frum mothers attempting to start a revolution against junk food.

But guess what? Nobody DIES FROM CANDY!!!

Around Purim-time, appropriately enough, the Yated was flooded with letters one more ridiculous than the next making brash statements like, "How could any responsible Rav give a hechsher on candy?! Doesn't he know it's killing the kids?" Puh-freakin-leez.

If a parent is so irresponsible that all their children eat is snack, yes, I agree with these women. However, these women need to GET REAL. I know that most new snacks are creative, yet full of sugar, chemicals, blah blah blah. But you don't have to give your kids THAT stuff. Get them Florida's Natural nuggets, string...all containing about 65% fruit juices. Tons of sugar, too, but it's not pure junk.

These chemicals, which are regulated by the FDA, in small doses would probably cause no damage to these kids. People claim all the sugar causes ADD-I agree with that--Hasn't anyone heard of moderation? Or actually giving your child attention, so s/he won't feel the need to act out?

If you allow no sugar, and no snacks, these kids will end up with serious issues. They'll feel like they're being controlled, which can lead to different types of eating disorders.

Either they'll grow up craving the stuff, or will die of anorexia.

All kinds of snack was available in my house growing up, and lots of it remained untouched. We all knew it was there if we wanted it. So when we went to other kids' houses, we didn't pig out on nosh, because it wasn't a novelty. If you don't make a big deal out of it, it won't be one.

I know there's a ton of crap out there, but if parents are selective and choose candy that their kids enjoy, they won't have to deal with it. And one sour spray gel--or whatever's hot now--once in a while as a treat, will not kill the kid.

But for someone to say that it's irresponsible to put a hechsher on candy---go read the Village Voice.

20 Comments:

At 5/10/2007 1:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree with you that the protests against candy are a tad overboard, but kids who don't get candy are not necessarily going to crave it or die of anorexia. if you turn normal, healthy food into a form of treat, you may be able to avoid an obsession with candy. i have a cousin who can be bribed to do his homework by a large tomato.

traditional candy is fine, but these candy toys are just disgusting. have you tried to eat candy hair? it's like eating play dough. what is wrong with the candy industry right now is their marketing techniques. they make awful tasting candies that are cool to eat because of the toy. and many of the toys don't work without the candy, so the kids keep wanting more. when you pay three dollars for a disgusting tasting lollipop, something is definitely wrong.

 
At 5/10/2007 4:27 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Anon-you're right. Paying those prices is outrageous. I am not a parent, which is one of the reasons I was hesitant to write a piece like this. But what if a parent explains to the child that the candy runs out, and then we throw away the toy, or do something else with the toy?
As for the taste--no I haven't tried many of them. I stick to the classics-Hot Tamales, Red Hots, (anything cinnamon flavored)etc. But if the kid wants it, and only gets it on momentous occasions, it's not too bad.

I think the example of the tomato is unusual. At least they got him to eat his veggies :-)

 
At 5/10/2007 8:51 PM, Anonymous sarah said...

Michelle,

I found your post interesting - however as someone who is studing neuropsychology, I must tell you that sugar cannot cause ADD. ADD is a disorde that is based on brain structure, genetics etc., not the amount of sugar consumed. In fact, there is no real proof that sugar even causes a change in childrens' behavior at all.

 
At 5/10/2007 9:03 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 5/10/2007 9:10 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

US obesity trends:

http://tinyurl.com/2s7s5m

US diabetes trends among adults:

http://tinyurl.com/37nwrw

"Childhood obesity has become a worldwide epidemic over the past two decades. Between the availability of convenience and fast foods and the trend for children to be less active, obesity in children has risen nearly 50%. It is estimated that 25% of children today are obese. Along with the childhood weight problems associated with obesity in children, many other health issues can occur such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, orthopaedic problems, sleeping disorders and the most prominent disease, type 2 diabetes.

The increase in type 2 diabetes in children has paralleled that of obesity at an alarming rate. Less than ten years ago it was nearly unheard of for children to develop this form of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes was usually diagnosed in adults over age 40. Today, children as young as age 10 are being diagnosed with this dangerous disease. Left untreated, type 2 diabetes in children can progress into adulthood to cause blindness, kidney failure and heart disease."

http://tinyurl.com/3czzjm


Coincidence?

 
At 5/10/2007 11:06 PM, Anonymous Xvi said...

First of all, Michelle, its a fruit; not a veggie :)

Also, Orthoprax, I think that the obesity "epidemic" is more likely correlated with fast food, as you yourself mentioned, than with candy. Regardless of the sugar content in candy and sweetened sodas, it pales in nutritional comparison to the ravaging affects of fried foods and preservatives. The real issue is a lack, on a societal level, of proper nutritional education.

Honestly, I dont think candy needs to even be an award. As long as it is in moderation and balanced with a relatively healthy diet, it can be fine for kids, even on a daily basis.

 
At 5/11/2007 4:14 AM, Anonymous big bro said...

Agree with the first comment. When I was a kid, Dad would come home once in a while telling us he had a treat. What was it? A black and white cookie.

These days I tell my kids that I have a treat for them, and it's watermelon.

We limit candy to Shabbos. Otherwise, healthful snacks.

Once they get into the habit of eating junk, it's hard to break.

And the reason you had a ton of nosh in the house growing up is that your parents could never say no. Don't think being spoiled rotten is a good thing.

 
At 5/11/2007 8:04 AM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

Xvi,

"Also, Orthoprax, I think that the obesity "epidemic" is more likely correlated with fast food, as you yourself mentioned, than with candy. Regardless of the sugar content in candy and sweetened sodas, it pales in nutritional comparison to the ravaging affects of fried foods and preservatives. The real issue is a lack, on a societal level, of proper nutritional education."

It's not just one factor, but if you start kids off with unhealthy eating habits then they might one day grow up to be a statistic.

Further, the worse problem is childhood diabetes, not as much the obesity. And that is induced by unending sugar overload.

 
At 5/11/2007 11:02 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Big Bro-and was the black-and-white cookie so terrible?
It was a treat, right? It wasn't every day.

As for being spoiled rotten, well, that's a whole other post.

And Sarah--Thanks a lot for clarifying. It's certainly a common misconception. (that perhaps I fell for since everyone argues it all the time) I think a lot of sugar makes the kids restless, and those kids are mistakenly diagnosed, or just labeled "ADD."

 
At 5/11/2007 1:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is the evidence that sugar causes hyperactivity?

THAT is irresponsible!

 
At 5/11/2007 2:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok, so sugar doesn't kill. but there's no reason to think that it's good for kids. so the question is: why SHOULD we give our kids candy? lack of candy is not such a traumatic experience that it will cause anorexia or binge eating. these would be caused by a strict diet imposed on the child by a parent who probably has an eating disorder.

candy can be used to mark something special. there was a minhag in europe to give children almonds and raisins at the seder table. this was to get the kids to ask what was so special about this night that they were getting treats. (and those were healthy.)

as a kid, i got candy on shabbos. this was due to an interpretation of a shabbos zemer. the phrase "shtai mamtakim"-drink sweet things- was interpreted by the kids in the family as two sweets. so we had two kinds of candy for dessert on shabbos, and we didn't take too much of them. there's only so much candy corn and jelly streimels you can eat at once.

 
At 5/13/2007 1:31 PM, Anonymous a junior said...

no hechshers for candy? sorry thats nuts!

 
At 5/13/2007 6:27 PM, Anonymous me said...

a junior-you said it, sister!

 
At 5/15/2007 8:15 AM, Blogger Scraps said...

I hear the OU gets phone calls asking them how they can certify foods that contain trans-fats. Same idea.

 
At 5/15/2007 2:05 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

That's messed up.
America is about choices.

You can choose to buy candy. You can choose not to. You can choose to buy foods containing trans fat (which isn't deadly in very small doses) or avoid it like the plague. That's the consumer's choice, not the government's, not the Rav HaMachshir's either.

 
At 5/15/2007 2:56 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

Michelle,

"You can choose to buy candy. You can choose not to. You can choose to buy foods containing trans fat (which isn't deadly in very small doses) or avoid it like the plague. That's the consumer's choice, not the government's, not the Rav HaMachshir's either."

For the record, transfats aren't 'deadly' in any specific amount. The more you eat it, the more your risk for heart disease. They exist naturally in all sorts of foods.

Though, weren't you arguing just a couple of months ago that it was ahalachic to smoke cigarettes? Wouldn't it work by the same principle? Consumer's choice.

 
At 5/17/2007 3:26 PM, Blogger Kaila said...

two things--

1) nothing against candy as a health issue, but i've noticed in recent years that the number of candy products with hashgachas from other countries is growing. many of them are not familiar to me, and i find myself wondering why so many people just put them in their shopping carts without checking the hashgacha first. in many cases this occurs in jewish owned stores, but if the store is not covered by an overall hashgacha, i still check. a jewish owned store in my neighborhood once stocked hebrew national hot dogs in the meat section. this does not reflect on the owner, but it shows you have to be careful with what you buy, even in a jewish store.

2) ortho- when you eat trans fats, you are not increasing others' risk for disease. when you smoke, you do and are polluting the environment. many people are not just at risk for disease later from secondhand smoke, some people have sensitive lungs and others have asthma. smoking outside does not help. while trans fat and smoking are not guaranteed to bring disease to the eater/smoker, i'd say trans fat is the lesser of the two evils.

 
At 5/17/2007 8:37 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

Kaila,

"when you eat trans fats, you are not increasing others' risk for disease. when you smoke, you do and are polluting the environment."

Only if you smoke around other people - and smoking hardly pollutes the general environment. It's so marginal that it's frankly absurd to argue that. You pollute the environment way more by using an air conditioner or driving a car.

And drinking alcohol, for example, is way more likely to result in serious harm to yourself or others, not to mention the immediate toxic and long term health effects of alcohol. I say that it's hypocritical to accept one and not the other.

"smoking outside does not help."

Help who?

"while trans fat and smoking are not guaranteed to bring disease to the eater/smoker, i'd say trans fat is the lesser of the two evils."

So? Who cares? Consumer's choice. They know it's bad for them and they do it anyway.

 
At 5/19/2007 11:24 PM, Blogger Semgirl said...

And even if you dont have in house plenty is available in shul, I always wonder why they just give the children w/o asking maybe he is diabetic L"a , or has food allergies.

Btw, did you see my most recent post think you would like it

 
At 5/20/2007 5:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wtg girl. Yes candy is ok in moderation, but fruit is a lot healthier and just as sweet and we dont need to be paying more dentist bills.

Also the dyes in the candy and food coloring is so unhealthy.
DO people actually read the labels in candy and in Soda and see how much sugar is really there??

Kol Hakavod keep up the good work

 

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