In our diet, it’s not always just gluten we’re worried about, right? On Halloween, along with our concern for gluten, we also have just as important, if not much more pressing health concern during this time of the year: sugar.
Parents out there, tempting as it may be to let loose a bit and let your kids go with all the rainbow colors of candy, we must remember that too much sugar has actual consequences to a child’s health.
It is not just the sugar rush that we’re talking about. Sugar has a much more negative effect on the body that is important for us to know.
Dental decay is an obvious one. Sugar is known to speed up breakdown of teeth as it fuels the bad bacteria in the mouth. Though younger kids naturally lose their baby teeth, it is important to take care of them as you would permanent ones as the bacteria on the surface of baby teeth can attack the healthy ones still under the gum surface, which can adversely affect their growth by the time they’re ready to come out.
Study also finds sugar lowers the immune system to up to five hours after consumption. Ever notice that close to midnight or when you’ve been up all night, eating sweets has the effect of making your throat scratchy and making you feel like you’re coming down with something? That’s because sugar curbs immune system cells that attack bad bacteria in our bodies.
Sugar as fructose and glucose that are in abundance in Halloween candy also has the effect of make one feel famished. Munching on sweets makes your brain resist leptin, which is the protein that help signal the body that it is full. Anytime sweets are introduced in the diet, it makes it easier to eat too much. Partnered with the fact that sugar is highly addictive, it can lead to complications and diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Though Halloween is just one night a year, letting kids loose on sugar, and having candy in the cookie jar for weeks after, can introduce kids to sugar eating habits and that would be extremely harmful for them in the long run.
Here are a few tips to make this Halloween a little less about the sugar and a bit more about the fun:
Consider giving out inedible treats like Halloween accessories like glow sticks, colorful bracelets, that they can have fun with while out in the streets at night. Just remember not to give out things that little kids can choke on. You don’t have to worry about sugar here, and gluten, even.
Have the tradition of a contest of who can bring home the most candy. That way, kids will have the motivation not to eat any of the candy until they get home, so that you may get a handle on what and how much sweets your kids actually consume.
Though a bit more out of the way, if you are visiting houses of people you actually know, like friends or relatives, have a deal with them to give out healthier and sugar-free (and gluten-free!) treats to your kids, or prepare something you yourself approve of, and hand them out to house owners before you set out for the night with your kids. It can just be between adults.
Remember that sweets and edibles during Halloween can just be a portion of the fun. Make other fun highlights such as creating costumes, decorating, and storytelling with your kids, that will focus more on the activities rather than the sweets.
Remember, with your kids health on the line it pays to keep the effort to be healthy even on Halloween. 🙂
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Albert Sanchez, J. L. Reeser, H. S. Lau, P. Y. Yahiku, R. E. Willard, P. J. McMillan, S. Y. Cho, A. R. Magie, and U. D. Register. – Role of sugars in human neutrophilic phagocytosis. – The American Society for Clinical Nutrition, Inc. 1973., Copyright © 1973,http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/26/11/1180.abstract\
The Skimy on Obesity – UCTV Prime http://www.uctv.tv/search-details.aspx?showID=23717