"My studies show people often come up with one or two hard-and-fast rules in their diet, such as vowing not to eat candy under any circumstances," he explained. "This often backfires, because they skip the candy in favor of a bagel that has even more calories than a candy bar, or they make up for it later by eating a piece of cake or a really large dinner."
By offering smaller portions, lighter calorie alternatives and resealable bags, candymakers would allow people to indulge their sweet tooth without forcing them to commit to 300 calories or more in one sitting, Wansink said.
While Wootan applauded these kinds of suggestions, she said she wished candymakers would go further.
"I'd like to see them remove candy from the checkout aisle, which is really just a way to manipulate people to buy candy they don't want and regret eating afterward," she said.
She said she also suspected shrinking candy bar sizes would do little good if they still come in giant bags, especially if the bags are decorated with cartoon characters that beckon to children.
In her speech, Sandler expressed worry over the fact that dozens of states have considered imposing sweeping "fat" taxes to curtail consumption of the sweet stuff. There is increasing evidence they could be effective: A survey of nearly 30 international studies published in the British Medical Journal found that a 20 percent tax on sugary beverages would reduce obesity levels by 3.5 percent. And findings published in the Archives of Internal Medicine estimated that an 18 percent tax on pizza and soda would lead to a 5 pound weight loss per year for the average American.