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Eat the candy cane -- or just look at it?

December 25, 2009 |  7:15 am

Candycane Likely, it depends upon one's fondness for candy canes -- and the willingness to indulge in empty calories. And we do mean empty. From a nutrition standpoint, the red-and-white staple is absolutely bankrupt.

Serving sizes vary, but in general, canes pack about 60 calories. That's for the half-ounce size. (Do more idle calorie-counter searching at CalorieKing and Calorie-Counter.) The Spangler candy cane comes in at 55 calories, and the company offers up a nutrition breakdown.

And here's another non-fun website -- the Holiday Calorie Calculator from Walking. It tells you how far you'd have to walk to get rid of the calories in holiday fare. It's a rough guide, but an illuminating one...

That candy cane would require 0.6 miles of walking -- 1,200 steps.

But consider... Let's say an average partygoer has two glasses of wine and grazes on 1/2 cup of Chex mix, a mini-quiche, 2 ounces of boiled shrimp with cocktail sauce and a gingerbread cookie. There's nothing outright alarming on the list, but the total comes to 620 calories. Said average partygoer, according to the calculator, would have to walk 6.2 miles to make up for that innocent nibbling. And that total doesn't even take the entrees or salads into account.

Those candy canes are looking better. Besides, the miniature ones come in at about 12 calories, says The Daily Plate. (And how many can anyone actually eat?)

-- Tami Dennis

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times

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Comments (2)

This is a classic example of why "eat-this-not-that" articles are so misleading. If I found myself hungry at a party, I'd certainly choose the Chex Mix, shrimp, quiche, wine, and a cookie (at 620 calories ) over a candy cane (at 55 calories). While not perfect, at least the first option offers some nutrients. As you pointed out, candy canes are the emptiest of calories. Being pure sugar, they also cause blood glucose to spike and crash, which is likely to send the partygoer in search of more nibbles.

Food choices are about more than calories in vs. calories out.

Eat one candy cane; just don't crunch up every candy cane in your house! If it bothers you, take a vitamin pill.


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