• Question: whats the most healthiest sweets?

    Asked by bieberstyle to Enda, Jean, Kate, Kev, Tim on 20 Nov 2012.
    • Photo: Jean Bourke

      Jean Bourke answered on 20 Nov 2012:

      Dried fruit!

      The biggest problem with sweets is not the sugar, it’s the fact that they are empty calories. Dried fruit is full of nutrients and fibre and is really sweet too.

      Mango is my personal favorite, seriously I can eat a whole bag in no time.

      You can also get dried pineapple, apricots, figs, blueberries, cranberries, cherries, papaya, apple rings, and many others. You can get banana chips too as well as the usual sultanas and raisins.

      Date are also amazing: they taste like caramel and are semidried. You can get packet of nice dates in lidl an there’s a brand called forest feast that do great medjool dates (really really big ones) that you can find in Dunnes.

      So for healthy sweets choose nutritional ones!

    • Photo: Enda O'Connell

      Enda O'Connell answered on 20 Nov 2012:

      Hi Bieberstyle

      I was going to say “an apple drop a day keeps the doctor away” or “Bounty bars, because they are one of your five a day” but neither of these statements would be true 😉

      Instead I’m going to cheat a little and say placebos are the healthiest sweets. A placebo is a pill made from sugar (so you could say it’s a sweet) and is given to a patient to fool them into thinking they are taking real medicine. This is routinely done during trials of new medicines so scientists have a “control group” to measure the effect of the actual medicine against.

      Controls are very important in experiments, and in this case patients are randomly given either medicine or a placebo, while the scientists also don’t know who received what. This type of controlled experiment is called a “Double Blind” study, and it means that the patients and scientists are unbiased when looking at the effect of the medicine. Only at the end of the study are the details revealed so the scientists can say whether the medicine had a better effect than taking a sugar pill.

      But what’s that you say? How are placebos healthy? Well, it has been shown on many, many occasions that simply giving a placebo to a patient actually has a beneficial effect (called the placebo effect) on their health. It is thought that when people feel like they are doing something about their illness, then they start to feel slightly better, and this positive outlook has a real, beneficial effect. It just goes to show what an important role the brain plays in our physical well being.

      One study even showed that doctors can act as placebos, by simply suggesting the patient “would be better in a few days”, which had a beneficial effect compared with the doctor giving no encouragement. Even more remarkably, in one study where control patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome were told they were being given a placebo it still had a beneficial effect, compared to patients who didn’t take any pills. So even though our brain knows it shouldn’t work, it does anyway!