The All-Candy Diet

By Corby Kummer
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Photo by freeloosedirt


I've long made no secret of the very prominent role sugar plays in my daily diet, particularly during the daylight hours (I stop caffeine at 1:00 p.m. and sugar by 6:00 p.m., or at least try to). I led a piece on high-fructose corn syrup as an unsatisfactory soda and iced-tea sweetener by saying,

Even someone who ingests indecent quantities of sugar on a daily basis, as I do, understands that certain things can be too sweet.

And my column this month in the print magazine--no link! subscribe!--is on the laudable effort to substitute the harsh, synthetic flavors and colors of decorate, sugary Necco wafers with natural flavors and dyes--something the Associated Press seems to have noticed only yesterday. (Yes, a monthly magazine can still get the jump on a 24-hour news gatherer, especially on stories of great moment.)

Candy is candy, and should dare speak its name.

A New York Times story today on Paul Rudnick's nearly all-sugar diet recapitulates a story my dinner guests brought up just a few nights ago. The context was the shocking-to-us refusal by the Asian-themed restaurant where we had torn through a very long parade of dishes--many of them so good we ordered doubles--to serve dessert. What a cheat! No green-tea ice cream, even. A consolation demitasse of chocolate melted with cream didn't console us much.

The subject of Rudnick and his nearly all-sugar diet then came up, as it often does among his friends. He is thin, strong, and perfectly healthy, as everyone including the Times writer notices with (I would say envious) surprise. As he was the very first person I met at the college I wound up going to (in the theater's green room, though he was memorably all in black and on a black sofa), I've long taken an admiring interest in his refusal to compromise--as I do every night, at full and sugar-free dinners. And now he has a new book, I Shudder, that will provide scary reading for parents and funny reading for all the rest of us fans, longtime and new.

This is the week to buy "junk" candy, preferably locally made ones like the Charleston Chews and Tootsie Rolls that are still made in a factory near me (the company's headquarters is in Chicago) that sends out marvelous chocolate smells in a new restaurant row in Cambridge. Not gourmet candy, which is wasted on trick-or-treaters and, as Rudnick I think rightly points out, on most adults. What's the point, really? Candy is candy, and should dare speak its name. But nicer flavors in the same familiar template--that's something worth tasting for yourself, as you do your supposedly-for-the-kids Halloween shopping.

What's your favorite candy? Share in the comments.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2009/10/the-all-candy-diet/29197/