It’s no secret that our country is awfully ban-happy these days. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s crusade against large-sized sodas has been well documented, as has the more recent nationwide banning of trans fats. Meanwhile, as another sugar-fueled Halloween comes and goes, there has been little talk about government trying to limit our intake of candy.
Slate just excerpted part of a recently published book called Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure by Samira Kawash. The author begins with a personal anecdote, recalling the shock and scorn she received from other parents when she offered a snack of jellybeans during her daughter’s play-date. It’s certainly a familiar narrative: candy is, without a doubt, a polarizing food item. The sugary treats act as “guilty pleasure” points of contention between both parent and child and husband and wife at home, while some households go entirely “candy-free.” Parents everywhere can at least agree that “candy” in its basic form is devoid of any nutrition, full of empty calories and cavity-inducing artificial colors. At the end of the day, it’s pretty easy to draw the line as a parent and ban in-house Nerds and Pixy Stix consumption.
Head to the cashier at your neighborhood pharmacy and you’re greeted by no less than 60 different packaged candies, begging for a spot in the grocery cart. Turn on the television and you’re likely to see a (pretty hysterical) Snickers commercial – starring a celebrity – within minutes. Nationally televised commercials for wireless companies even mock Halloween’s health-conscious citizens.
Kawash explores the question further by citing studies that examine candy’s powers of addiction and its similarities to narcotics (we’ve been down this road before), but these issues are just icing on the cake – no pun intended. As the government cracks down on certain items, the availability and marketing of a worse monster have seemingly only increased. Why has there not been more of a national movement to curb our collective sweet tooth? Let us know your thoughts and share your stories of candy-related strife in the comments below.
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