Between haunted houses, scary movies, and spooky costumes, there are many frightening (and fun) things about Halloween. Yet, the most alarming thing you may encounter is the candy you hand out to trick-or-treaters.
Each Halloween, Americans will drop over 600 million pounds of chocolate bars, candy corn, lollipops, and sticky, sour candies into the bags of the neighborhood kids. Shockingly, each kid will collect up to 7000 (empty) calories.
But that’s not the scary part…
It’s the Sugar!
Halloween candy is loaded with sugar which is highly addictive. (4) It stimulates the release of feel-good chemicals dopamine and serotonin in the brain, much like illegal drugs. The more we eat, the more we crave it. That’s the reason it’s tough to limit candy to just one piece.
Sugar is much worse than fat for your waistline because it’s the first thing that turns into fat in your body.
Most Halloween candy is made with high fructose corn syrup – otherwise known as the most toxic form of sugar you can consume. Long-term studies indicate that high fructose corn syrup increases your risk for obesity, insulin resistance, and fatty liver disease. (1-2)
Additionally, high doses of high fructose corn syrup kill off the good bacteria in your gut, impairing your digestion and immune system.
The Worst Halloween Candy for Your Health
Now, it’s OK to indulge your Halloween candy cravings; just do it mindfully.
First, try to avoid the worst of the worst, the candy that’s loaded with sugar, trans fats, and artificial coloring.
3 Musketeers: These chocolate bars filled with fluffy, whipped nougat are hard to resist, but they are the highest in saturated fats and sugar, with 36 grams per bar.
Skittles: may be lower in fat per serving than most chocolate options but, they are one of the highest in sugar with 30 grams per package. They’re also packed with food additives and hydrogenated oils — aka trans fats — which can quickly boost cholesterol levels.
Sour Patch Kids, like Skittles, are loaded with questionable ingredients. These dangerous candies are one step worse because they’re also acidic and can wear down teeth enamel, increasing the risk of cavities.
Candy Corn brings little to the table apart from sugar and calories; it’s also full of highly refined, processed, and artificial ingredients and coloring.
You’ll very likely find healthy Halloween candy at your local health food store. Pick up treats that use more natural forms of sugar like organic cane sugar or honey.
Dark chocolate is a terrific alternative to milk chocolate. It’s made with much less sugar while it’s loaded with heart-healthy polyphenols and antioxidants.
Payday bars are primarily nuts, have 7 grams of protein and 2 grams of filling fiber. You’ll feel more satisfied after eating just one bar.
Novelty Halloween candies like Dum Dums, Jolly Ranchers, and Tootsie Pops are low in fat and calories. They take longer to eat, which may slow you down and help prevent a binge.
Remember, it’s OK to indulge your Halloween candy cravings; just do it mindfully. We all know we shouldn’t be binging on candy every night, but Halloween is a pretty special occasion.
Probiotics Help Control Cravings
Your gut microbiome contains trillions of helpful and harmful bacteria that influence your cravings. The toxic kind feeds on sugar. They highjack your cravings, making you eat even more sugar-loaded foods. (3)
Probiotics, like Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Biotics, have a wide range of benefits for your digestive and overall health. They also help control the harmful bacteria by crowding it out with helpful, wholesome food-loving bacteria. With the help of probiotics like Dynamic Biotics, you take a big step towards controlling your sugar addiction.