Hundred-Year-Old Advice About the Use of Candy in the Diet

pieces of Mint Chocolate Fudge on plateCandy is tasty, though it probably isn’t the healthiest food. Here’s what a 1920 home economics textbook said about candy:

The Use of Candy in Diet

Candy, is an energy-giving food, but unfortunately perhaps, it is not (at all times) a most desirable energy-giving food. Sugar exists in candy in concentrated form. Such sugar is irritating to the organs of digestion.

Sugar is contained in large quantity in some fruits, especially in dried fruits: figs, dates, prunes, etc. These fruits are a much better source of sweets for children than is candy, because they do not contain as much sugar, and have, in addition, valuable food materials in the form of ash. Note the large quantity of carbohydrates and ash in raisins.

Candy should never be used to excess or at the wrong time. A little eaten at the end of a meal is not harmful to the normal person. At that time the sugar is diluted because it is mixed with other foods. When diluted it does not irritate the digestive tract to the extent that it would if eaten between meals with no other foods. It is well to drink a generous quantity of water when eating candy or other sweets. Since molasses, honey, and maple syrup are not so concentrated as is sugar, they are desirable sweets for children – provided they are used moderately at the right time, and are mixed with other foods.

School and Home Cooking (1920) by Carlotta C. Greer

The old book mentions the role of “ash” in the diet. Today ash would be called minerals.

30 thoughts on “Hundred-Year-Old Advice About the Use of Candy in the Diet

  1. And studies indicate that high sugar candy when eaten between meals actually increase hunger thus leading to overeating at meal time! I think they were onto something in 1920!

    1. I’m often surprised by how often people a hundred years ago understood what they needed to do to eat healthy, even if they had no clue regarding the underlying scientific reasons.

    1. Yes, my understanding is also that ash refers to minerals. “Minerals” sounds so much better than “ash.” I can see why the term has changed across the years.

    1. mmm. . . I’m also always happy to see those mints at a restaurant. I’d almost forgetten about them. It’s been a long time since I’ve had one. 🙂

  2. I also like a little something sweet after lunch or dinner so have a semi-regular habit of having a dark chocolate covered almond or a shard of chocolate almond bark to finish the meal. Dark chocolate and almonds are healthy, so I understand. 😉

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