Candy has been long associated with ghouls and monsters and Halloween.
Many parents worry about their children eating too much candy and the increased sugar intake. Children tend to be the ones who eat the majority of the candy around Halloween but adults are known to have too much as well.
We have all heard the damage that too much sugar over time can cause to our bodies, but did you know that even the increased sugar intake around Halloween can cause damage to your body? Researchers have found that an increase in sugar can have an effect quickly on the body. Symptoms of increased sugar intake include Congestion; anxiety Frequent colds; migraines, constipation Headaches; sinus congestion; Backaches; depression Skin itch; sleepiness; dizziness; Immune system dysfunction; Tension; blurred vision; and loss of short-term memory to just name a few. Studies have shown that increased sugar consumption is largely responsible for many cases of diabetes, heart and degenerative diseases.
The chocolate bars, hard candies, gummy drops are loaded with sugar but be careful when you go to the parties and enjoy the treats there as well. Many times there is hidden sugar in the foods we eat or in our drinks. All these sugars add up. Many times we think we are being healthy but then surprised by how much sugar those foods contain. Some of the worst offenders are:
Fruit yogurt is one of the biggest surprises on the shelves. Many of the most popular brands on the shelves contain 19 grams of sugar or more, Many times people say that the yogurt tastes as good as dessert and that is because it really is as sweet as a dessert.
Many store-bought pasta sauces will have 12 grams of sugar for every half cup. Plus, many people add more than half cup of sauce to their pasta. And don’t forget that pasta digests quickly, therefore, it will spike insulin levels just like sugar, which means you will be increasing insulin levels significantly and quickly.
We all know the problems that soda can cause but this is just a reminder of how serious the problem is. Sweetened sodas have 29 grams per 8-ounce can. Some researchers have suggested one of the best things anyone can do for their health is to “Cut out sugar-sweetened drinks.”!
They don’t seem like they have too many grams of sugar but the numbers will surprise you. Just 10 gummy worms pack nearly 45 grams of sugar into your diet!
These snacks might make you feel like you are being healthy because of the added fiber but be careful with what else is included in the granola. Some bars/treats can have up to 12 grams of sugar per serving. So make sure you know the ingredients before feasting.
Now we cannot blame Halloween for the overall increase in sugar consumption. Americans tend to eat over 120 pounds of refined sugars per year and that results in almost 25% of our caloric intake. Sugar calories are called empty calories because they provide no real food values and tend to steal essential nutrients from the body. Processed foods account for roughly 70% of the ingested sugars. Breakfast cereals, snack foods, canned vegetables, pasta sauces and baby foods tend to be a huge source of refined sugars. Manufacturers hide them by calling them fructose, corn sweeteners, dextrose and other names. These sweeteners no longer have any of the vitamins or minerals that the original sugar cane supplied.
Refined sugars are missing the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and fibers that are necessary for good health. This is why doctors and nutritionists suggest consuming fruits and whole grains that contain natural sugars and starches which include all the necessary vitamins and more. These whole grains break down slowly into glucose that finds its way into the bloodstream through the small intestine. The body burns them smoothly and is used as it is needed. When the body is burdened with too many refined sugars, the body searches for the proper nutrients elsewhere. The liver must release some of its stored vitamins, enzymes and minerals which stresses the body and causes a degenerative process. Excess sugar causes the body to get ready to respond as if the body has consumed “good” sugars. The brain prepares for the increase but refined sugar will be digested quickly causing the pancreas to still secrete insulin it is expecting. The glucose will have already been used which causes an immediate boost of energy but followed quickly by a drop of energy and tiredness.
If you still like sweet things, there are ways to sweeten your food. You can try to add rice syrup to your recipes along with malt barley but they can affect blood sugar levels. Fructose is another good choice of sweetener because it has no effect on the mechanism for sugar and insulin. Many nutritionists suggest something called Stevia. It is sweet, nearly calorie-free and it helps to prevent cavities. Stevia does not cause a rise in blood sugar which means there will be no big bursts of energy followed by tiredness.
You can be your own Health Hero by taking charge of what you eat at Halloween and how much you eat as well. Make healthy choices while snacking at the parties. Skip the sweets and find something that can satisfy your cravings! Hummus makes a great choice to dip veggies in and you can get creative while creating your own “spooky” treats. Make sure you keep yourself well hydrated with water and enjoy the sights and sounds by taking a long walk! It is possible to eat healthy during Halloween!