The Swedish word ”Lördagsgodis”, (eng. ”Saturday Candy”) is a cultural agreement that is lamented in the vocabulary and its meaning never questioned.
During the 1930s, it was evident that the dental health in Sweden was extremely poor. Practically every citizen had caries, and in 1938 the Public Dental Service was formed to improve the situation of this national disease. It was suspected that sugar was causing caries, but it had not been sientifically proven. The Swedish Government asked the Medical Board to perform a clinical study on diet and dental health. The Vipeholm Hospital, situated outside the city of Lund, with around 900 mentally handicapped patients, was chosen for this study which took place between 1945 and 1955. The Swedish sugar industry was contacted, since they were interested in finding scientific evidence against the possible candy-caries relationship. The Candy Manufacturers Association, and Swedish Sugar AB were largely involved in financing the study.
At the request of the researchers, a particularly sticky toffee was fabricated, the so-called “Vipeholm toffee”. The Vipeholm institution was thought of as an ideal research station, since all diet intake was monitored and therefore the candy consumption could be controlled. The patients were divided into groups, and were given the toffee in various amounts and with different frequency.
In the spring of 1948, the effects were beginning to be obvious. By then, so many patients had developed caries that the findings were statistically proven. When the study had been completed, after almost 10 years, it was concluded that the amount of toffee and the frequency of the intake was in direct relation to the extent of the damage. The publication of this study resulted in a large information campaign, and in 1957 the Medical Board introduced the concept of "Saturday Candy" (all the sweets you like, but only once a week); a recommendation that the Public Dental Service still stands by.