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No Trick to Halloween Sweet Treats
Date:10/27/2008

Leading Penn State Registered Dietitian Kris Clark, Ph.D., offers easy tips

to help kids have a safe, nutritious - and fun - Halloween!

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- If this year's Halloween is like those past, some 36 million children(1), aged five to thirteen years, are poised to don costumes to go trick-or-treating. And while it is a holiday when Americans focus on sweet treats, registered dietitian Kris Clark, Ph.D., of Pennsylvania State University, says that Halloween is a perfect time to clear up confusion about the role of sweets in the diet and misconceptions about different sweeteners.

In 2005, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommended limiting so-called "discretionary" calories to about 200 per day for adults and about 180 calories daily for youngsters aged nine to thirteen years. Sweet treats fall in that category, according to Dr. Clark.

"No one says that it's smart to eat a lot of these foods," Dr. Clark says. "But an occasional treat can be allowed. And Halloween is one of those days when it's fine to enjoy a few treats."

Dr. Clark adds that the sweeteners used in many Halloween treats are nearly identical. "High fructose corn syrup and table sugar both contain the same four calories per gram and are metabolized the same way in the body," she says. "And, I agree with the Food and Drug Administration's decision that high fructose corn syrup can be used in 'natural' labeled products."

Dr. Clark also concurs with the recent finding by the American Medical Association that "high fructose syrup does not appear to contribute to obesity more than other caloric sweeteners."

"Many accusations today rely on speculation that tries to link single ingredients, including sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup, to obesity," said Dr. Clark. "All Americans are eating more of everything -- it's the excess calories and sedentary lifestyle that are having the greatest impact."

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SOURCE Corn Refiners Association
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