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Dear HG,

I LOVE gummi bears and licorice, and need to have some at least twice a week.  Are they really that bad for me?  Should I stop eating them altogether?

-Craving Candy
Dear Craving,

I wish I could tell you that gummi bears and licorice do a body good.  Sadly, I can't.  These chewy candies are packed with sugar and offer no nutritional value whatsoever.  But there is some good news; gummi bears and licorice are both fat free and are somewhat low in calories (especially for candy).   So while these sugary treats are not everyday  foods, if you eat them in moderation, you should be fine.  HG Warning: When you do indulge, try not to shovel a pound of gummis down your gullet as a meal substitute.  Stick with just a handful as a treat.  You may also want to check out some of my favorite retro candy finds here, here and here!

Dear Hungry Girl,

I have high cholesterol and have thought about buying, "Smart Balance", "Benecol", and other butter substitutes that are supposed to lower your cholesterol.  However, I've noticed that they're all fairly high in calories.  Help!

-Baffled by Butter
Dear Baffled,

Butter substitutes are fairly high in calories because they're high in fat.  So how can they be considered healthy?  Well, the fats Smart Balance, Benecol and the others contain are monounsaturated (a.k.a. good fats).  These healthy fats, as well as a plant sterols and Omega-3's, help lower LDL (bad cholesterol).   You should also keep in mind that butter substitutes usually have much fewer calories than real butter.  And, in addition to their regular spread, Benecol also makes a light version that has just 50 calories per serving.  The thing is, to effectively lower cholesterol, experts recommend eating four servings of Benecol daily.  That's 200 extra calories.  If you don't want to take in all that, try Benecol "chews."  They have just 20 calories each, and the same cholesterol-lowering effects as Benecol's spreads.  Whether you opt for a butter substitute or the Benecol chews, just be aware of how many calories you're taking in.  Good luck!

Today, September 14th, is National Creme-Filled Donut Day.  This is one we're boycotting, as the average creme-filled donut contains 300 or more calories, and 12 - 15 grams of fat.  Boo!
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