Americans love candy. We have several holidays where we put the sweet stuff at the center of the celebration — Halloween candy, Easter baskets, candy-filled advent calendars and candy canes. We even have amusement parks dedicated to it. You’d be forgiven for assuming Americans eat more candy than any other country — but you’d also be wrong. There is one country that beats out the U.S. in candy consumption: Sweden.
A recent study conducted by Jordbruksverket, the Swedish Board of Agriculture, found that Sweden has the highest candy consumption per capita in the world. Citizens consume on average 35 pounds of it every year. Doing the math … that’s about a half pound every. single. week. The sugar consumption is about three times more than what the World Health Organization recommends.
Candy culture in Sweden is strong. “Lördagsgodis” is a Swedish word that literally means “Saturday candy.” The thinking went that instead of eating sweets every day, setting aside one day a week would limit overall intake. Instead, it just created a day where people gorge. Every Saturday, stores are filled with bins of mixed candies for people of all ages to choose from and participate. When watching a movie to relax on Saturday, it’s candy Swedes grab instead of the traditional popcorn.
But the history of this fun, weekly tradition has a pretty dark history. In the 1940s, the Swedish government set up a test to determine how much candy people could safely consume. To explore the hazards of too many sweets, researchers performed their experiment on patients in mental institutions. When it was determined how much candy was too much — and that your teeth may rot — the government urged its citizens to eat as much candy as they like, just keep it to one day a week.
Other countries that eat more candy that the U.S. include Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, the U.K., and Finland. The Netherlands, Norway and Australia round out the top 10. The United States doesn’t even rank in the top 10.
But before we go patting ourselves on the back, it’s worth remembering that the U.S. has the highest obesity rate of any developed country — nearly 40% of adults and 19% of young people.
So there’s that.
We all have our vices.
ALSO SEE: U.S. obesity epidemic not budging.