Recent headlines have candy lovers rejoicing: Sweets won't make you fat or give you heart disease, the Daily Mail reported.

But let's not get too excited yet. The study, supported by the National Confectioners Association, looked at how often 5,000 Americans reported consuming chocolate and candy in a year. And while I do not think the research was biased, I always question a study that bases a majority of its finding from a food frequency questionnaire. Not that I think individuals purposely lie, but I do think they aren't always 100 percent truthful-either they want to make themselves out to sound better, or they really don't remember what they have eaten.

The subjects may also have been consuming plenty of whole grains, fruits, veggies, low-fat dairy, and nuts-foods known to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. Or perhaps they weren't overweight because the sweets they were eating were replacing calories from other foods (possibly because of a diet or a health professional's recommendations, as the study authors note).

I would be curious to see long-term results, much longer than the three years of this study, to find out about the subjects' overall health status since being at a healthy body weight doesn't guarantee you won't get cardiovascular disease, especially in the absence of healthy foods.

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The researchers did comment that the results did not intend for people to think they should consume large amounts of sweets daily. Laura Shumow, director of scientific and regulatory affairs at the National Confectioners Association in the U.S., told the Daily Mail, "There is a place for little pleasure, such as candy, in life." I concur. As we know, deprivation always backfires and overeating usually takes place.

To stick to moderation, try one of these ways to add a little sweetness to your day without a lot of extra calories:

  • 3 Hershey's Kisses = 67 calories
  • 1 homemade chocolate chip cookie = 110 calories
  • 1 2-inch homemade brownie square = 112 calories
  • 10 Cherry Twizzler Bites = 83 calories
  • 2 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Miniatures = 88 calories
  • 10 Peanut M&M's = 103 calories