Posts Tagged ‘candy’

A little over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic and we are all probably familiar with the symptoms of this disease. According to the CDC, fever, cough, body chills, muscle soreness are some of the symptoms of COVID-19. Many of these symptoms are the same as the common cold or seasonal flu, expect for one… the loss of taste and smell.

About 86% of people who test positive for COVID-19 report losing their ability to taste or smell. Scientists are looked for an inexpensive and consumer-friendly way to track our sensitivity to taste and smell to measure COVID in the community.

Researchers at Ohio State University have found a potential solution- candy! In a new study, researchers plan to distribute candy that is the same size and color but is actually eight different flavors. Each day the participants will smell and then eat one piece of candy. Participants will track the smell, taste, and flavor strength of the candy in an app. If there is a difference in the participants report, the app will ask them to quarantine and to schedule a COVID test. The hypothesis is that the candy could be used as a useful tool to capture the loss of sense of smell or taste.  

A sense of smell is often overshadowed by other senses, we do not even have great words to describe different smells! Unless you have experienced a sudden loss of smell yourself, you may not even have realized how much it colors the world around us.  Those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 later express a newfound appreciation for a sense of smell.

Before going to work my partner and I must track symptoms like temperature and sense of smell to report it to our employers. In addition to taking our temperatures, we have also started smelling things with a distinct scent, like coffee or kimchi to test our sense of smell. Have you started checking your sense of smell? Would you be willing to add “eat a piece of hard candy” to your to-do list if it could predict early signs of COVID infection?

Written by: Courtney Woelfl, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Cuyahoga County, woelfl.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Dr. Roseanne Scammahorn, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Darke County, Scammahorn.5@osu.edu

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Do you give sweets to your ‘sweetie’ on Valentine’s Day? According to the National Confectioners Association, 83% of Americans will give chocolate or candy on Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is the third largest holiday for the consumption of chocolate, trailing behind Christmas and Easter (US Food Market Outlook 2018). 58 million pounds of chocolate will be purchased the week before Valentine’s Day. That’s a lot of extra calories, fat and sugar.

picture of strawberries, grapes and melons

My son’s birthday happens to be on Valentine’s Day. Knowing there would be an abundance of sugar at classroom Valentine parties we have always tried to bring a healthy treat to share for his birthday. Pictured here is one of my favorite birthday treats we have shared with classmates. It’s simply fruit cut into heart shapes and arranged in a heart-shaped pan. And you know what? The class has always devoured the fruit! Consider sending a healthy treat for your child’s classroom… fruit, pretzels, raisins… or a non-food item like pencils or stickers.

Maybe the best way to say I love you… is with a gift that promotes health. Here are some gift ideas that say Happy-Healthy Valentine’s Day:

  • Flowers – buy local and save money!
  • Pampering gifts – bath salts, scented lotion, candles
  • Make or purchase a fruit bouquet
  • Homemade gifts from the kitchen – soup mixes in jar, granola, or flavored popcorn
  • Coupons for quality time together
  • Plan an active date – ice skating, skiing, dancing, hiking, bowling,

Of course you can still enjoy a little chocolate… just do so in moderation and balance it with physical activity and smart food choices the rest of the week. Feel free to share your favorite healthy gift idea in the comments below.


Garden-Robinson, J. & Henneman, A. “FREE Holiday Food Mixes in a Jar PowerPoint, Recipe Handout and Online Slide Show.” University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 2019. https://food.unl.edu/free-holiday-food-mixes-jar-powerpoint-and-recipe-handout

“Heart Health and Candy Hearts?” American Heart Association. 2013. https://www.yourethecure.org/heart-health-and-candy-hearts

US Food Market Outlook 2018. https://www.packagedfacts.com/Food-Outlook-11000243/

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County

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