The great chocolate debate: How much is too much this Easter?

A child will eat an average of 30 chocolate treats this weekend

The great chocolate debate: How much is too much this Easter?

Chocolate artist Dr Grit Wendelberger preparing chocolate for a scenery from the opera 'Salome' in Halle, Germany | Image: WALTRAUD GRUBITZSCH/dpa

A recent survey shows children will consume 2,000g of sugar over the Easter weekend. That is 21 times the recommended sugar intake for seven to 10-year-old children.

The British study from Wren Kitchens found that this is more than double the recommended calorie intake, at 1,000g of fat.

According to the survey by the end of Easter a child's chocolate bank will hold, on average:

  • Four small chocolate eggs
  • Five medium chocolate eggs
  • Four large chocolate eggs
  • Four bags of Mini Eggs
  • Four Creme Eggs
  • Five Lindt bunnies
  • Three mini Kinder Eggs
  • Three chocolate bars

While over the long weekend, it found 65% of families will cut into hot cross buns and 34% will devour a slice or two of Easter cake.

What's in 2,000 grammes of sugar? | Source: wrenkitchens.com

Professor Donal O'Shea is director of the weight management clinic at St Columcille's Hospital in Dublin.

"It's all about moderation - so I'm a big fan of Easter eggs...but it's one egg each.

"Easter used to follow a period where kids actually gave up chocolate and sweets for a six week period, and that was very good.

"Some still do, but less and less.

"But the excess of what industry have to drive - which is over consumption of high fat, high sale, high sugar foods - that's industry's job, they're doing a very good job at the moment but the result we're harming our kids".

But novelist Amanda Brunker says this is a bit of overkill.

"I just think that these days people are getting a little bit obsessive about the obesity crisis - everywhere we turn... everybody is talking about our obesity crisis.

"And I don't think it's helping, people are kind of zoning out on this.

"People are being told they can't do this, they can't do that, they can't eat this; and I think they're just saying 'You know what feck it, I've had a hard day I'm going to eat something.

"If they do want to overindulge on one day, that's not the end of the world".

What children will eat this Easter | Source: wrenkitchens.com

"No such thing as a bad food"

But Prof O'Shea says obesity is a silent killer.

"Obesity is killing 3 to 4,000 people a year in Ireland from the diseases it causes - diabetes, cancer, dementia, young type-two diabetes because of our childhood obesity epidemic - and yet it doesn't appear on a death cert.

"Because if it appears on a death cert the GP will get into trouble because the family will be upset that obesity is labelled as contributing to death.

"So it's really serious - if it was just a cosmetic issue, I wouldn't be talking about it.

"The war on a particular food - sugar is bad, fat is bad, too much protein is bad - they're all confusing messages.

"There is no such thing as a bad food, it is the proportion of it and the volume of it."

Ms Brunker takes the final word: "I just think we need to lighten up about this a little bit - everybody needs to get common sense.

"Obviously don't try and over-eat, but lets not nag our children this Easter - I think we all deserve a treat".