The Patriot In-Depth: Unwrapping JC’s sweet tooth

Nicole Arrison, In-Depth Editor

Does JC have a sweet tooth?

“Sour patch kids are the greatest gift from God,” senior Sam Werneke said, describing his favorite candy. Like other students at JC, Werneke has a sweet tooth.

According to a survey of 89 students conducted by The Patriot on March 24, 70.9 percent of students eat candy at least once a week.
Werneke eats candy about two times a week, normally after school. “It’s usually after I go to the store because it’s convenient,” Werneke said.

Junior Grace Lee tends to eat candy 3-5 times a week. “When I get upset or stressed, I eat more sweets,” she said. Afterwards, she feels better and more relaxed.

Other students, like sophomore Brooke Vogel, eat candy simply because they’re bored. “I’m more encouraged to eat candy when I’m bored, and I want something sugary,” she said. Vogel tends to eat candy about five times a week, normally right after school.

Sophomore Kristen Flanigan eats candy the most when she’s with her friends. “Whenever my friends and I hang out, they bring candy most of the time,” she said.

According to the survey, 39.3 percent of students eat the most candy when they’re with their friends. 54.8 percent of students eat the most candy when they’re bored.

On the other hand, senior Rachel Weskalnies eats candy the most when she is at home while watching movies, and she normally eats candy once every week. “Sometimes, I go on candy splurges,” which are caused by “stress and hunger,” according to Weskalnies. Afterwards, she feels “really unhealthy yet satisfied.”

In response to the survey, 54.9 percent of students feel satisfied after eating candy.

Biology teacher Kyle Leppert tends to crave candy during the holidays and after exercising. “Sometimes I want candy after long runs,” he said. “I don’t buy candy that often, though. I normally only eat candy when it’s free candy. When you start actually buying candy, you know you’re in trouble.”

Even though freshman Zach Miller’s favorite candy is Heath Bars, he does not eat candy that often. “I’ve never been a big candy eater,” he said. “I have to really be in the mood for it. I don’t have a big sweet tooth.”

According to the survey, the most popular candy for JC students is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, with 24.1 percent of the vote. Kit Kats came in second place, with 19.5 percent of the vote, and Sour Patch Kids came in third place with 11.5 percent of the vote.

Lee’s favorite candies are caramel creams. “I haven’t eaten any kind of caramel cream before I came to the United States,” she said.
Chemistry teacher Julie Baker loves candy every now and then. “Sometimes I just love having something sweet,” she said.

What are the effects of candy?

Although eating candy can be satisfying, it also has health effects.

According to Psychology teacher Paul Lazor, eating too much candy can affect the brain. “Eating a lot of candy leads to some production of dopamine,” he said. “However, eating too much candy can become an addiction.”

One student that responded anonymously to survey said, “I gave up all sweets and desserts for Lent and it’s actually pretty hard. Sometimes it scares me how much people are dependent on sugar.”

Some students, like freshman Bella Huffman, get a lot of energy after eating candy. “After I have candy, I’m super hyper,” Huffman said.

Like Huffman, sophomore Erica James also becomes hyper after eating candy. “If I eat too much candy, then I act really crazy and get a ‘sugar rush,’” she said. “After I reach my sugar high, I crash.”

Vogel feels unhealthy after eating too much candy. “I feel bad about myself because I really want to stay healthy,” Vogel said.

Leppert doesn’t like eating too much candy because it “tears up his teeth.” Like Leppert, Miller believes that eating too much candy will damage his teeth. “After I eat a lot of candy, I feel like I have to brush my teeth a lot,” Miller said.

According to the article, “The Claim: More Sugar Leads to More Cavities” by Anahad O’Connor, eating too much sugar can cause damage to the teeth. Tooth decay occurs when the bacteria that line the teeth feed on sugar, creating acid that destroys the outside layer of the tooth.

“When you eat something sweet, it takes the bacteria about 20 seconds to convert to acid, which then lasts for 30 minutes,” O’Connor said.

Eating candy does not come without a price. “I had a cavity once in third grade after I had too much sugar on Halloween,” Werneke said.
“If I sleep after eating candy and forget about brushing my teeth, I feel like I will get a cavity,” Lee said.

Additionally, “I feel like I am gaining weight when I eat too much [candy],” Lee said.

Unlike Werneke, Weskalnies has never had a cavity from eating candy. “However, sometimes if I eat too much, it does make me feel lazy,” she said.
Leppert also knows that it is unhealthy to eat too much sugar. “Having a lot of sugar at one time causes some sugar to go to your bloodstream. If there’s too much sugar in your bloodstream, it turns to fat,” Leppert said.

According to Leppert, the amount of candy someone can eat depends on their health. “More active people can handle more sugar easily,” Leppert said. “Being active allows your body to use the stored sugar right away.”

Leppert says eating too much candy can affect the insulin in the body. “Insulin controls the sugar in the blood and if too much sugar is taken in, it can cause problems,” Leppert said.

According to the article, “Effects of Eating Too Much Sugar” by Lauren F. Freidman, eating too much sugar can increase your body’s demand for insulin, which helps your body convert food into energy. “When insulin levels are consistently high, your body’s sensitivity to insulin is reduced, and glucose builds up in the blood. Symptoms of insulin resistance can include fatigue, hunger, high blood pressure, and weight gain,” Freidman said.

Junior Emily Meyerl doesn’t eat a lot of candy. “[In] the past six months, I have started eating healthier, and I just don’t eat a lot of candy or processed foods anymore. Ever since then, it honestly doesn’t taste as good anymore,” she said.

From not eating candy and other unhealthy foods, Meyerl has seen some positive changes. “I have lost weight. I have more energy. I fall asleep quicker and sleep better. I have learned a lot about food and nutrition and just feel overall healthier as a result,” she said.

Even though students are still hooked on candy, some have tried to break their old habits and try new things, like Meyerl. “I have found other foods that taste even better and satisfy my sweet tooth even more than candy ever did.”

Nicole Arrison is an In-Depth Editor for The Patriot and