Diet and Nutrition Fitness and Health

A Halloween Candy Scare!

happy halloween

Halloween Holiday Customs

Halloween is an Irish custom celebrated since the 1900’s.  It is considered the Celtic New Year marking the end of summer and the beginning of autumn.

Customary Halloween colors are orange and black. Orange represents a bountiful harvest and the turning color of  leaves. While black symbolizes the “death” of summer and the changing season.

Everyone who celebrates can have fun with the cultural experiences of Halloween. So go ahead, have a little fun, carve a Jack-o-Lantern, bob for apples, listen to spooky medieval folklore and dress-up in costume. 

If you are not too frightened to learn more about the scare of the holiday then dare to check out, 

Halloween holiday traditions celebrated around the world. You will learn how different countries from Ireland to Cambodia observe fright night.   

Tossing Halloween Holiday Tradition

It seems that these traditions have been tossed into the witches cauldron only giving way to a candy fest. More candy than you may want to believe.

Second only to Halloween costumes, it seems candy was the second-largest revenue generator increasing by over 8% to total $2.7 billion dollars.

Halloween traditions are dying and it all boils down to dollars and cents. While we are replacing traditional activities with eating lots of candy, we  are then haunted by health and weight problems.

Trick or Unhealthy Treat: Halloween Candy Labels

Don’t get me wrong a little candy won’t kill you. But, Halloween events can include tables full of Treats…cupcakes topped with creepy spider and candy apples dripping in caramel with sprinkles.

Oh and let’s add all the candy in your home from your kids Trick or Treating and leftovers from what you bought to give away.

These tempting sweet treats look harmless. But actually, they wreak havoc on blood sugar and insulin levels causing cravings,  leading to eating more, gaining weight and life-long health problems.

If you compare fat-free licorice with a Reese’s peanut butter cup, you will see that that the fat free candy is equal in calories and contains much more  carbohydrates and sugar. The thirteen grams of fat in the peanut butter cup, if it’s your only indulgence, is not too bad.

  Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Licorice
Calories 200 210
Carbohydrates (g) 24 46
Sugars (g) 21 29
Fat (g) 13  0

While you may think the nutrient-LESS licorice is a better treat, because it contains 100% sugar and carbs without any fat, you may want to think again.

It seems that the ingredients that are used to make the candy are more important than you think.

The 200 calories from licorice comes from flour, sugar, cornstarch, a little palm oil and mostly corn syrup. In research studies, corn syrup was shown to directly affect blood pressure, blood sugar and possibly more in relation to long-term metabolic disease risks.

Both are unhealthy options. These “treats” should only be eaten on rare occasions. Yet eating a peanut butter cup with a little more fat and protein may be a better choice than a non-fat corn syrup filled treat.  

Corn syrup directly causes weight gain, spikes and dips in blood sugar, insulin surges and all the consequences that surround hormonal imbalance including mood swings, hunger, heart disease, diabetes and insulin resistance.

So do NOT be fooled into thinking that fat-free is health consequence free.

Spooky, frightful, chilling party events, ghost stories and dress-up costumes are all part of Halloween fun. However, the party food and drink, trick or treating and left over candy can be the death of all us all!

Use These Tricks of the Nutrition Trade on Halloween:

  1.  Operation Gratitude can help spread the Halloween spirit by sending Halloween candy care packages to troops overseas. 

      2. You can eat healthy foods before the big party.

      3.  If you are hosting, serve real food. Therefore, you will not be tempted to eat more unhealthy foods. 

      4.  A party planner should fill time with non-food related fun-filled Halloween festivities.

      5.  Hand out tattoos, spooky plastic rings, false teeth, stickers, bouncy balls and use them in a “funniest” costume contest.

      6.  Try adding a little ambiance with small plastic spiders, mini-ghosts, Halloween themed pencils or skeletons for a scavenger hunt. 

      7.  If you want to avoid gaining a couple pounds, prepare  1-2 weeks ahead of Halloween by avoiding “treats”.  

     8.  Revisit Halloween tradition on fright night try: ghost stories or movies, bobbing for apples, carving pumpkins, pin the spider on the web.

     9.  Instead of eating chocolate, use it for a facial!

   10.  For fright night, try a few spooky Halloween traditions that can replace gluttonous candy eating. And, find healthier replacements for unhealthy treats. For family’s following a ketogenic diet, consider making your own healthier candy options. 

 Halloween Wrap up

Halloween should be filled with customary fun activities. With more emphasis on things to do and less on eating too much candy, we can save the worldwide Halloween tradition. Before eating Halloween candy, read the labels and understand what ingredients are in the candy you eat. This will help you make better choices during the Halloween holiday. 

About the author

Valerie Goldstein

Valerie raises the bar for health and nutrition know how with unconventional expertise and unconditional support for wellness.

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