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Americans Spent $2.1 Billion On Easter Candy Last Year
Updated April 6, 2017 6:57 AM
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(UNDATED) - You don't need to look any further than your local grocery store to know that the Easter Bunny is increasingly filling up baskets for kids with candy bunnies, chocolate, and sweet treats.

+-In fact, Americans spent $2.1 billion purchasing 120 million pounds of candy last Easter season. But with research out showing that the sugar industry manipulated studies and duped us all into sugar addiction, it can be a nightmare for parents concerned about food choices and health when candy-filled holidays such as Easter come around.

The biggest potential danger of Easter candy indulgence, explains Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D. -- a brain and cognitive scientist specializing in the Psychology of Eating, and author of the New York Times best-selling book "Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin and Free" is that if candy consumption is not managed properly it can set kids off down the slippery slope toward sugar addiction.

Susan has shown through her work that sugar consumption actually changes the brain, rewiring it to ensure that we will continue consuming more and more of it. In other words, it is highly addictive. And a childhood sugar addiction is often the first step toward a lifetime of overeating and obesity. But the good news, she says, is that a short-term sugar binge -- say, Easter Sunday -- will not rewire the brain. It's the consumption over a prolonged period of time that we need to watch out for.

Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D., says parents can best manage Easter candy consumption by:

  • Let kids enjoy and binge on their candy for 1 day or possibly 2, but 3 days absolute max.
  • Refrain from limiting their candy intake during that time. Limiting intake will create too much of a focus, and possibly a fixation. Instead, allow them to indulge.
  • Don't contribute to the sugar indulgence on Easter - if they get candy at school or at the parties they attend, fine, but focus home celebrations on arts and crafts instead.
  • Avoid trying to replace their candy binge with, say, a binge on carrots. They'll feel deceived and cheated and will only crave candy all the more.
  • Above all, model good eating habits year-round, with plenty of fresh fruits and veggies but minimal sweets.

This last point, she says, is far more important than micromanaging what kids eat on the occasional holiday or celebration. In American, a full 60% of one-year-olds are eating candy every day.

Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D. is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester and an expert in the psychology of eating. She is President of the Institute for Sustainable Weight Loss and CEO of Bright Line Eating Solutions, a company dedicated to helping people achieve long-term, sustainable weight loss. She is author of the New York Times best-seller Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin and Free.

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