The Good and the Bad of Halloween Candy
While limiting our sugar consumption is ideal, I live in a world of reality where I know that people will be faced with choices and lack of control around the candy bowl. Its the time of year when we begin to tempt fate with keeping candy in the house. We do it under the guise of 'needing it' to give away, but the reality is that its there for our own consumption as well. Sad, yet true.
It’s well documented that excess sugar leads to obesity, diabetes and also raises blood pressure leading to heart disease. Sugar feeds chronic inflammation in our body and is the fuel that causes cancer and candida to thrive.
In our children, excess sugar is linked to cavities, obesity, increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Some uncommon effects include cold-like symptoms, weakened immunity, stomach aches, and poor appetite. This is not to mention the hyperactivity that many parents report with over-consumption.
The reality is even as adults, we consume way too much sugar. The average male gets 24 teaspoons a day, according to the National Cancer Institute. That’s nearly 3x what the average diet should contain.
And, the reality is, the less sugar in your diet, the better, since sugar is not a required nutrient.
Added sugar we consume primarily comes from soda, energy and sports drinks, but this time of the year, the amount of candy we consume skyrockets. Sugar, is also highly addictive. So, if you find yourself reaching for “just one” piece and suddenly you’re sitting among a pile of wrappers, it’s not surprising. Bringing awareness and control to the choices we make will help us manage the situation.
If you can’t control that craving and step away from the candy bowl that’s calling your name, here’s my list of the top 3 better (notice I didn’t say “best”) and top 3 worst choices of candies this season.
Jelly Belly Jelly Beans – These are gluten free, peanut free, dairy free, fat free and vegetarian friendly and do not contain gelatin. 25 Jelly Belly are about 100 calories. Jelly Belly uses real fruit purees to flavor their beans. So, while it’s still a sugary treat, it doesn’t contain some of the added garbage some of the others do.
Smarties – Each roll of Smarties contains 25 calories, 0 fat and 6 grams of sugar. Usually one roll does the trick and you can feel like you had a sweet snack without crashing your goals.
Dum Dums – Since Dum Dums are hard candy, if you can hold off from biting intothat crunchiness, this is a candy snack that can satisfy as it lasts over time. 2 pops contain 50 calories, 0 fat and 10 grams sugar.
Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups – sorry Reese’s fans, this candy gets ranked the worst among various studies. One serving contains more sugar than the average person should consume in any given day and a high amount of fat. Interesting to note that Reese's does not post ingredients OR nutritional information on their website. Yikes!
Butterfinger Fun Size – these tout high amounts of fat AND sugar.
M&M’s Fun Size – these fan favorites have 32 ingredients in them, including fatty corn syrup (aka sugar) and 10 artificial colors. Not fun!
Honorable mention is the most classic of the Halloween candies -- love it or hate it –
Candy Corn -- while it’s advertised as “made with honey”, honey is listed as an ingredient among 4 other types of sugars, as well as gelatin, artificial flavors and colors. Scary
Other noteable mentions.....
Starburst – Containing both corn syrup and sugar, these have the highest level of sugar. Eek!
Snickers – Contain “artificially flavored chocolate". Ewwwww.
Twizzlers – Sold as low fat but they contain white flour, sugar and corn starch. Blah. Swedish Fish – Carnauba wax and sugar. Huh? While this wax is safe to consume, it’s what we use to wax our cars. Egads!
Make your Halloween Healthy with these options for at home treats that will delight everyone!
Dark chocolate squares with natural, organic peanut butter Apple slices with honey and cocoa nibs
Dark chocolate dipped fruit
Roasted pumpkin seeds
Apples with peanut butter and dairy free chocolate chips
If you're really inspired, search "Healthy Halloween Treats" on Pinterest or Google for decorating ideas!