In British English, "sweets" can refer to candy or dessert. However, that's not the focus of this post. Instead, I'd like to discuss "sweets" as used in American English.
Some, perhaps many, Americans would deny "sweets" is a term current in American English. But the Merriam-Webster and American Heritage Dictionaries define one sense of "sweet" as "a sweet food", and offer example sentences such as "I'm trying to cut down on sweets."
Clearly, the term "sweets" is indeed used in American English. Much to my curiosity, however, is my observation-- correct me if I'm wrong, please-- that some Americans who accept "cut down on sweets" in reference to sweet foods in general, do not accept or interpret "a box of sweets" as a box of different kinds of sweet foods. Why is that?
To compound the situation, I've found some webpages that appear to consider 'sweets' as 'sweet foods':
These baskets of sweets (cookies and pops) will certainly be a breath of fresh air to the traditional roses and cards. (https://bitesph.wordpress.com/)
Valentine's Day Tower of Sweets. A delectable assortment in a beautiful Valentine's Day presentation. Chocolate Pralines, Chocolate Pretzels, Sea Salt Caramels, Southern Charms (chocolate covered glazed pecans) and assorted Chocolate Bear Claws. Tower arrives nicely wrapped with a lovely, hand-tied bow. No need for flowers here! (http://www.riverstreetsweets.com/product/Valentines-Day-Tower-of-Sweets/)
A Container of Holiday Sweets. If you are like my mom during the holidays you will have a variety of sweets sitting around the house. Fill a container of holiday goodies to give to your hostess. (http://thepreppyplanner.weebly.com/events-blog/category/all/30)
"Sweets" on the above pages cannot refer to candy. I'm wondering whether the Americans here find the use in #1-3 natural.
If you are an American, I'd like to know how you feel about the above use of "sweets". Is it natural?
I'd appreciate your feedback.