October 11, 2014

Five Reasons to Avoid Halloween Candy This Year

Go to Halloween parties, wear a costume, drink cider, bob for apples and carve pumpkins but I strongly suggest avoiding eating candy this year.  Halloween treats are big business; Americans spend over 2 billion dollars each year on candy for this holiday specifically with Reese’s Peanut Butter cups being the most popular choice. Here’s why you should consider cutting way back on the candy you eat October 31st:

1.  It makes you feel terrible.

When you eat concentrated sweets like sugar or corn syrup, your blood sugar spikes up causing a cascade of hormones which will tell your body to store this energy as fat.  Once these hormones pump out at an increased level, your blood sugar comes crashing down again leaving you irritable and hungry for more.  Get off the roller coaster by avoiding concentrated sugar and candy, especially when you're trying to enjoy your holiday.

2Candy is filthy.  

There is an assumed natural and unavoidable level of defects in food that reportedly pose no health threat to humans including: maggots, insect fragments, mold, rodent hair, and insect/mammalian feces.  The USDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition has rules for how much is allowed into candy as well as other food products.  That’s a Halloween trick you weren’t expecting. 

3.  Sugar is addictive.  

With studies this year pouring out about how bad sugar is for your health, you’ve probably heard that you should avoid it.  Keep in mind that sugar may be an addictive substance, with some researchers comparing it to alcohol, nicotine and even cocaine because of the way it stimulates our brains.  A lot of my patients find stepping away from sugar almost impossible and aren’t surprised to learn that people get addicted to it. For some, an all-or-nothing approach is best and this can be one tactic to survive a candy-laden holiday.

4.  Halloween candy is a low quality food. 
If you are concerned about the quality of your food including topics such as organic, genetically modified ingredients, food colors and preservatives then you should know about what’s in the candy we consume. Corn syrup is a common first ingredient in most candies.  You’ll often find hydrogenated oils (aka: trans fats), other low quality oils such as palm or vegetable oils, and at the end, a list of food coloring: Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1.  FYI corn, soy and oils are all on the most GMO food products list. 

 5.  The holidays are coming.

The ‘holiday’ season is generally specified as mid-November until mid-January but I argue that it really starts in late October with all the Halloween parties and increased candy consumption. Studies are mixed, but research has shown that people do gain weight during the holidays and folks who are overweight or obese are at higher risk for weight gain during that time period. Do yourself a favor and enjoy a healthy holiday! 

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