Jun 05, 2014, 07:13AM

Vive Candy

Chocolate is more awesome than nutrition.

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Booker Smith recently wrote a piece for Splice called “The New Hershey Bar.” It’s a good article about a good product: KIND bars are a rare blend of nutritious and delicious. I agree they’re better for you, are inexpensive, and should be your “snack” choice at a checkout counter. But “the new Hershey bar”? And calling for the Hershey bar’s extinction? Not a chance. When you need a candy bar, you need a candy bar. Period.

I admit to a bias: growing up in Pennsylvania, native state of the famous chocolate bar. The Hershey brand was everywhere. Even at a quarter, it was a pretty rare treat as a kid, and in fact wasn’t actually my favorite. If I had an extra quarter from babysitting or delivering newspapers, it was more likely to be spent on a Clark bar, a Caramello, a Whatchamacallit or a $100,000 (now 100 Grand) bar. Runners-up would be the non-chocolate candies: Pop Rocks, Fun Dip, Chuckles and of course the 1980s essential Garbage Pail Kids pack, for the cards, not the chalky gum.

The Hershey bar is still popular. For the last 13 Halloweens, I gave a choice of full size candy bars to 300+ trick-or-treaters and determined that Reese’s was the top choice, with a plain (not almond) Hershey bar not far behind (Kit Kat a close third). If I held out a bucket full of KIND bars, the neighborhood kids would have looked at me like I was from another planet, and later decorated my house with eggs. There’s a time and a place for every food, even junk food. It’s bad enough their parents (posing as “The Halloween Candy Fairy”) rob their loot as soon as kids fall asleep, replacing it with some no-doubt lamer-than-candy toy and probably setting kids up to purchase more candy someday when it can’t be stolen.

Booker’s article mentions his nutrition professor’s comment “If it doesn’t benefit you, don’t eat it.” I agree, and moderation is everything, but once in awhile (perhaps especially for women, perhaps especially at a certain time of month) I’d argue that the mental health benefits of Hershey bars or chocolate in general (insert link to scientific article discussing how much the brain loves chocolate) far outweigh those of any granola bar.

As a volunteer who trains Girl Scout leaders in camping, I can promise that although we might have KIND bars at camp for trail snacking, the Hershey bar will remain the essential ingredient of the Campfire S’mores at the end of the day.


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