Candy Shop Face-Off: Which is Healthier?
Pay attention when you hit those touristy candy shops this summer: Some treats are better than others.
WINNER: Red licorice. Many people assume that black licorice root can alleviate health issues. This hasn't been proven, but eating large quantities of black licorice may be dangerous to people 40 and older because a compound in it has been linked to heart problems, according to the FDA.
WINNER: Boardwalk taffy. A 1-inch square of chocolate fudge has more than double the fat of the equivalent amount of taffy (about seven pieces). Plus, fudge is higher in saturated fat, which can raise cholesterol in the bloodstream and lead to heart problems.
WINNER: Classic gummies. The calorie and sugar counts are almost identical, but studies suggest that sour candy erodes tooth enamel more than other types because it's more acidic. And because gummies stick to your teeth longer than other sweets, sour ones pose a greater risk of dental damage.
WINNER: It's a draw. Neither of these options is good for you: They're both sugar, corn syrup and food coloring on a stick. Choose either; just don't go overboard on the portion size. Keep it to roughly one ounce of cotton candy or two rock candies.
WINNER: Chocolate-covered treats. Yogurt sounds more virtuous than chocolate, but the type that coats pretzels, dried fruit and nuts is loaded with fat and sugar. Chocolate coating has fat and sugar as well, but it also contains healthful antioxidants—the darker the chocolate, the better.
The Expert: Takami Kim is a registered dietitian with NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital's Department of Food and Nutrition Management.