5 Horrors in Halloween candies and how to pick good stuff instead

  • Americans will spend 6.9 Billion dollars on Halloween this year.

  • 2 Billion dollars will be spent on just Halloween Candy.

  • The average American consumes 3.5 lbs of candy over Halloween

Listen, Halloween is fun and I don’t want to be a total Debbie Downer, but come on, 3.5 lbs of toxic chemicals in one day. You don’t think that’s a lot? One candy generally weighs 1.5 ounces. 3.5 lbs = 53 ounces. You do the math. NOT OK.

Before we get to “how to have fun with less toxins,” I want to discuss a couple of ways to decrease your child’s sugar exposure on Halloween. Remember, sugar is sugar, whether organic or not. It’s sugar. Sugar is toxic all on it’s own.

  1. Make sure he eats a good dinner before tackling the parade and the hunt for candies. A good dinner is not pizza. It is veggies, with a protein like meat or beans, complex starch such as quinoa or couscous.
  2. Offer her water, not juice. Do not give kids liquid sugar before they gorge on sugar and more sugar.
  3. Discuss the Halloween Candy Rules before they go out to grab the goodies.
    • How many candies they will eat Oct 31
    • How many substitutions you will make, see below
    • How many days they will get to have a piece of candy after Oct 31. Have a hard stop and stick to it.
    • When will they get the treats and how many at one time.
    • Plan ahead. A child who is aware of the rules, will whine A LOT less.

FUN FACT: A sugar burst impairs a person’s immune system for up to 5 hours. No wonder so many kids become sick 24-48hrs after Halloween is over. All the other toxins in candy are doing the immune system no favors. Ok, let’s get to it!

Choose This, Not That:

Don’t Be Tricked Into Eating the Wrong Halloween Treat

1 – Food Coloring is Frightening!

Studies published in The Lancet, Pediatrics, and Journal of Pediatrics suggest that food additives adversely affect a population of children with ADHD. The biggest culprits are Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1&2, Red 40. Food containing compounds such as benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl, has been linked with cancer in several studies. Research has also associated food dyes with allergies and irritable bowel issues.

BEWARE: I hear a lot of parents say “my kid is healthy so he should be fine eating this.” This is like saying, “ I am healthy there fore I should be fine eating rat poison.” How many more medical studies do we need before we start changing our habits?

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2- TBHQ – is Terrifying

TBHQ, tertiary butylhydroquinone, is a food additive used by food manufacturers to extend shelf life and protects foods from discoloration. Unfortunately, this is not a food item, and the EWG is very concerned here. And according to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), cases of vision disturbances have been reported when humans consume TBHQ. This organization also cites studies that have found TBHQ to cause liver enlargement, neurotoxic effects, convulsions, and paralysis in laboratory animals.

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3 – Trans Fats are still Haunting candies

Trans fats are directly correlated with heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.  Please tell me I don’t need to link studies here. This is OLD NEWS. Trans Fats make food taste good and last longer.  On June 18, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially banned the use of trans fats, or partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), in all foods sold in American restaurants and grocery stores. On the ingredient list, Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oils = Trans Fats.  Unfortunately, these are still found in candies offered to kids.

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4 – PGPR, Artificial Flavors, and Emulsifiers are Horrifying additions to chocolate

PGPR is a cheap substitute for cocoa butter and increases shelf life of candy.  It is used with artificial flavors and other emulsifiers to give the consumer the impression of chocolate. In large quantities researchers found these ingredients contribute to enlarged liver and enlarged kidneys.

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5 – Food Allergies can be Deadly

1 in 13 children have a food allergy. Please signal allergy friendly treats and non-candy treats by putting out a teal pumpkin or the following sign out front of your door.

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Allergy Friendly Candy

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Aside from Amazon and Whole Foods, many of these candies can be found at Walmart, Target, and even at this Natural Candy Online Store. Yes, these candies made from real food are more expensive then the garbage, but you do not need to buy 3lbs of candy. Be selective and particular. Also, I caution you about poisoning the rest of the neighborhood kids with the toxic chemicals discussed. Do the best you can, and remember small steps lead to great change.

Happy Halloween, Dr. Ana-Maria

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