TUMMIES FULL OF GUMMIES
Until now, the most alarming way for people to keep weight off has been through vices – smoking, drinking, skipping meals. But the latest trend in weight loss among young women is possibly worse, and definitely weirder, than all of them: The All-Candy Diet.
Suddenly – and secretly – young ladies are considering bags of fat-free Gummi Bears to be entire meals. The result? Pounds shedded, cavities accumulated, and a good chance adult onset diabetes will hit before 30. Even Elizabeth Hurley recently admitted that her post-partum weight-zapping indulgence was Gummi Bears.
“Oh my God, I’m awful,” said Robin Immerman, 25. The associate beauty editor is 5 feet tall and weighs 95 pounds. “I probably consume more calories in candy than anything else.”
Her daily diet consists of some mÈlange of Swedish fish, Gummi frogs, Taffy Lites, and candy peanuts – for breakfast, for part of dinner, and as a post-meal aperitif. “I could quite possibly live on candy alone,” she said.
Leah Wasielewski, a 23-year-old publicist at Simon & Schuster, admitted to regularly delaying meals with high-end Haribo fruit salad gummies, a $5-a-day habit. The fat-free aspect of gummi candy, she said, is “the ultimate bonus.” And 31-year-old photo editor Susannah Davis said that chewy Sprees curb her appetite at night. “If I’m eating something before dinner, I’ll go for candy. And then you’ve eaten so much candy that you’re not even hungry!”
Dylan Lauren, owner of Dylan’s Candy Bar, has herself been known to substitute a grab bag of gummies for a brown bag lunch. “I think I’ve lost weight by eating candy,” she said, adding that women are the store’s “big gummy eaters.”
Ultimately, for gummi aficionados, the bottom line is the waistline. “Jelly Bellies are four calories per bean,” said Mary Ann Zissimos, 23, who ratcheted up her intake while publicizing her upcoming book about the making of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” “Pure Imagination.” The great thing about the gummy tummy tuck, she said, is that “you’re losing weight, but you feel like you’re not dieting because you’re enjoying these secret pleasures.”
Unsurprisingly, health care professionals are horrified. “Sure, you can lose weight if candy is all you eat,” said Manhattan-based nutritionist Ellie Krieger, who once treated a dancer who subsisted solely on Twizzlers. “But the cost is your health.” Potential complications, she said, include anemia, malnutrition, osteoporosis, and skin and hair problems.
And then there’s rotting teeth. Danielle Blaine, 25, is a graduate student in psychology whose daily candy habit – which starts with fro-yo and ends with Peppermint Patties – has given her cavities in “every single one of my teeth,” while Wasielewski said she has more than 15 and Davis said she “basically paid for my dentist’s second home.”
In fact, possibly the only people really benefitting from this trend are dentists: “Candy and popcorn are keeping me in business!” said Dr. Michael Iott, while Dr. Steven Brisman warns that such compulsive candy intake has catastrophic results: “There are bacteria in the mouth, and food feeds the bacteria and holds the bacteria there because it’s sticky,” he explained. “Then the bacteria excrete acids, and the acids rot the teeth . . . I like this kind of girl!”
TUMMIES FULL OF GUMMIES