Curious Kids is a series for children of all ages. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to [email protected]
How much candy do Americans eat in a whole year? – Yvanna C., age 9, Nevada
From sweet treats to holiday indulgences, candy plays a big role in American culture, with consumption surging around Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Easter and Christmas.
Sugar, whether it’s derived from sugar cane, sugar beets or corn, is a primary ingredient in all candies, partly because it can be masterfully crafted to all sorts of different sizes, shapes and textures. Whether you are nibbling on rock candy, chewing on taffy, munching on jellybeans or licking a lollipop, you’re basically eating spoonfuls of sugar.
The average American consumes an estimated 8 pounds of candy (3.7 kilograms) annually, with children eating even more. On a typical day, 1 in 4 eat at least some candy and almost all of us do it once a year. As a dietitian, I advise moderation, even on special occasions.
That’s because growing kids, and adults too, need food to have enough energy, maintain strong bones and muscles and help their bodies fight infections.
Fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and nuts contain natural sugars for energy that are better