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Chronicle Review illustration by Scott Seymour

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Chronicle Review illustration by Scott Seymour

It all started with jelly beans.

When my daughter was 3 years old, she loved jelly beans. At one tiny gram of sugar per bean, the treat seemed to be pretty harmless. So with the best intentions, we decided to bring jelly beans to share at a play date with her friend.

The friend's mother stocked the pantry with normal kid stuff—Popsicles, juice boxes, Teddy Grahams. But she seemed taken aback by jelly beans. "I suppose it couldn't hurt ... ,"