Obesity

Happy Halloween: Beware of Granola Bars

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The L.A. Times asked various nutrition gurus and other traditional candy haters what they hand out on Halloween. Most of the answers are surprisingly chill. Even Marion Nestle–who tends to be the person with the most radical quote in any obesity article–was cool. She said she has no trick-or-treaters in Manhattan, but conceded the point of the holiday, saying, "I'm not in favor of nutritional purism on holidays. I think some negotiation is reasonable." She even admitted that caramel apples are pretty awesome: "Especially ones with the worst red, hard candy on them."

There's always a killjoy, though:

Kelly Brownell, director of Yale's Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. "Not food," he says. "because the food that people tend to hand out is candy, and children get plenty of candy already." In a 2003 study, he and colleagues offered candy or toys to trick-or-treating children ages 3 to 14 and found the kids were just as likely to pick toys.

He hasn't done studies on how far treats can be healthified before children balk, "but perhaps you could do that," he quips. "The outcome variable could be seeing how far you could go without getting your house TP'd."

Read the whole L.A. Times article here

Via the Center for Consumer Freedom.

Happy Halloween!

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  1. Maybe it is just the angle of the picture, but Prof. Brownell appears to have chosen candy over toys.

  2. No, Brownell has been the main focus of The Center for the Study of Hypocrisy of Nanny Staters for many years. For that fat piece of shit to lecture other people on what they’re eating is fuckin’ ridiculous.

  3. “In a 2003 study, he and colleagues offered candy or toys to trick-or-treating children ages 3 to 14 and found the kids were just as likely to pick toys.”

    You could easily skew the results of such a “study” by offering some nasty peach-flavored hard candy (like the kind that sticks together in your grandmother’s candy dish) and a Hotwheels ’68 Mustang for the toy.

    I wonder how the study was carried out.

  4. I think Brownell should be placed in a pit ringed by fifth-graders with dodge-balls.

  5. “I think Brownell should be placed in a pit ringed by fifth-graders with dodge-balls.”

    … who have all just read her comments.

  6. Apples with razor blades embedded in them might actually be safer for kids than the chocolate-coated poison that’s currently handed out on Halloween.

    It’s good to know we Americans have a holiday where child abuse is actually encouraged.

  7. Honestly? If the toy was cool, I’d think the person handing out toys on Hallowe’en was the most awesome person on the block when I was a kid.

    If everyone started doing it, of course, it’d be the lone holdout for Butterfingers that would get the “most awesome” crown.

  8. “It’s good to know we Americans have a holiday where child abuse is actually encouraged.”

    Must have been your parents’ favorite day.

  9. Okay, so what Halloween candy did anyone really like? Hate?(Sweet Tarts were always my faves.) I never liked the marshmallow ones or those taffies that came wrapped in orange and black wax paper. Too hard and no real taste.

  10. Apples with red hard candy on them are candied apples, NOT caramel apples.

  11. I hated Slo-Pokes. (But now, as an adult, I love them.)

    Dan T., LOL.

  12. Okay, so what Halloween candy did anyone really like?

    I always loved those oatmeal cookie sandwiches, the ones that had like marshmallow centers or something. So disgusting and yet so awesome.

  13. Holy sweet Jesus H, this server is nice. Did y’all upgrade to a Pentium 2 box?

  14. I was a kid on an Army base, all us kids Trick or Treated in packs without adults along, we’d go to the Officers houses because they gave out the best stuff. I liked the little candy corn, but everyone gave those out. The best treat I ever got was from an old lady who gave out the little 6-ounce bottles of coca-cola, that was a major score.

  15. I loved Sweet Tarts and Necco Wafers. All the Mary Janes went in the garbage, however.

  16. Have any of you noticed a decline in the number of Trick or Treaters recently? I live in a neighborhood with 519 kids between 6-11 (according to the Census in 2000). That’s over 10% of the population. None of them showed up. I only got three little kids with their parents.

    It’s gotten worse each year. I always thought it was the weather, but this is the best weather we’ve had in years.

    When I was a kid I lived in a much smaller neighborhood with about the same percentage of kids, yet hundreds of kids came each Halloween.

    Do parents not let their children trick or treat anymore?

  17. Here in the Bronx, trick-or-treating has been on the increase for years, at least in my neighborhood. They drive ’em in from who knows where. Today we even got an adult couple, no kids with them.

    I give samples of my bath foam — see link.

  18. .. no kids again this year .. haven’t seen an FLB for probably ten years ..

    .. that goes with living in the country .. house that we lived in before here was similar .. no kids at all for several years in a row .. then, one year, doorbell rings .. the only thing that I can come up with in the entire house is a banana .. happy Hallowe’en ..

    .. Hobbit

  19. Ammonium: Parents scared of kidnappers and sex offenders. And of everything else.

  20. Back in the Dark Ages when I was very small people gave out real popcorn balls, and real carmel apples (not that shit they sell at the grocery store) and other assorted home made goodies like from-scratch cookies and brownies. Nothing my kids get today can compare to that stuff. Sadly, all the razor blade scares eventually put an end to that.

    Ammonium, it depends. We live in the sticks and there aren’t many kids around here. In 10 years we have never had a single kid come to the door on Halloween.

    We take our kids to the suburban upscale neighborhood where their school is located. It is clogged with hundreds of trick-or-treaters. When they were smaller, we took them to my sister’s place, same kind of neighborhood.

    These people go all out for All Hallows E’een. Man, it’s right up there with Christmas for time and money spent on cool decorations.

  21. What’s an FLB please? Does it promote tooth decay?

  22. Hobbit’s bannana story was a hoot. I figure an FLB must be a Fargin Little Brat………but I could be wrong. And the answer would be yes, FLB’s promote tooth decay. At least mine do.

  23. The best trick-or-treat score was the Hershey Semi-Sweet Chocolate bar, the precursor to today’s “Special Dark.” Besides its gloriously intense chocolate taste, it was too “grown-up” for the younger siblings. One did have to watch out for the parentals, who appreciated them, too.

    My prime T or T years were the 1960s, just before the razor-blade myth took hold. Growing up in a small Long Island town that had been enveloped by Levittownish suburbia, my siblings and I could rake in extraordinary amounts of candy and pocket change from our neighborhood and adjoining ones. We’d escort the little ones around while the sun was still up, then head home for dinner, making sure to take a route that we had yet to harvest. After a light repast the older kids would head back out to continue the festivities in the dark, the way the Old Gods intended. I think we all had to be back home by about 9:00pm. We had off from school for All Saint’s Day, but still had to get up for church.

    As our family wasn’t flush, candy was a special treat, and we kids would stretch our stashes as long as we could, at Halloween, Christmas and Easter. Mom would impose a limit on how much we could snack on. I can remember being allowed to pack one candy-serving-equivalent {1 full-size bar, 1 of those paper bags of mixed treats some folks made up, 1 box of candy such as Good n’ Plenty, 2 “Fun Size” bars} with my bag lunch for school. One treat as an after-school snack, and another as dessert after dinner was a normal distribution. Oh! how pitiful the sibling who scarfed down as much as one could stuff in one’s mouth, whose treasure ran out early, and had to watch as wiser sisters and brothers who still had booty enjoyed it! It was like something out of Aesop.

    I live in an urban neighborhood of duplexes, triplexes and apartment buildings. Our city designates a 3-hour window, all in daylight, on the Sunday before Halloween, for T or T. Not one child or teen rang my bell this weekend. Granted, our area is low on families with kids, and packed with single folks, especially students at the nearby State U. I think what the few Moms and Dads around here do is pack the kids in the car and take them to nearby suburbs where almost everybody lives in a single-family home, and try to replicate the kind of experience I had as a kid.

    I know of some comics fans who clean out their collections or stock up at their retailer’s “quarter bin” and hand out four-color effulgence on Halloween. See: here

    The last article on this slow-loading Ain’t it Cool News page refers to the practice, too. The kids seem to like it!

    Kevin

  24. I think Chesterton said it best:

    “When giving treats to friends or children, give them what they like, emphatically not what is good for them.”

  25. My kids scored a nice, healthy Chick tract!

  26. Anybody else’s ironimeter go off when they saw that one of the anti-candy scolds was named Nestle?

    She’s not related to the candy giant’s founders, though.

    Kevin

  27. “We take our kids to the suburban upscale neighborhood where their school is located. It is clogged with hundreds of trick-or-treaters. When they were smaller, we took them to my sister’s place, same kind of neighborhood.

    “These people go all out for All Hallows E’een. Man, it’s right up there with Christmas for time and money spent on cool decorations.”

    Isn’t it interesting that the same effect is seen in the suburban upscale neighborhood and in my Bronx neighborhood? Halloween decorations have come to rival those for Christmas here too, and the kids are in many cases SUV-driven-in from a distance. The trick-or-treaters and the residents here are each largely immigrant to the USA.

    Even though I’m from around here (52 YO), it was never this big when I was a child. And now it’s caught on as a party holiday among adults, which was practically nonexistent when I was a child.

  28. Man, I hated those religious wackos who handed out that Chick shit. I remember always getting ones that had great stories about kids being beaten by their dads and forced to panhandle, but it would be good because one day the dad would beat them to death and they would meet jesus in heaven.

  29. Our local giveaway weekly paper ran the Halloween installment of Owen Dunne’s You Damn Kid…., which seemed apropos the discussion.

    I wore a home-made Batman costume once. it must have been in 1967. A local appliance store had given away free cardboard masks, with a very Carmine Infantino-ish Batman head on one side, and a Robin face on the other. Unlike the Damn Kid in the cartoon, I avoided wearing a coat, by attaching a bat-symbol to a grey shirt borrowed from an older brother, and wearing sweatshirts that gave my torso the required barrel shape underneath, while keeping it warm. Yes, my younger brother played Boy Wonder, but drew the line at going out in short pants.

    Kevin

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