Reality Check: Throwing candy out, while wasteful in a way, is not going to stop people in other countries from starvation. I know that's a famous line we think about when we throw food out...parents telling us, "eat everything on your plate...there are people starving in China." If that's how you truly feel, send the candy to China. If you and your children eat everything placed in front of you throughout life, including Halloween Candy, you will be obese, you will heighten your risk of Diabetes (not to mention on other health problems), and the people in "China" will still starve.
Halloween Candy: Trick or Treat?
In fact, it is estimated that the average North American consumes two to three pounds of sugar per week in products such as cereals, cookies, yogurts and even ketchup! As you can imagine, during the days around Halloween, the amount of consumed white refined sugar skyrockets.
What is the problem with a little white sugar? In addition to contributing to weight gain, white sugar can create a number of health problems in the body that include:
* Suppression of immune system function
* Fluctuation of energy levels
* Making the body more acidic
* Hyperactivity and impulse behavior
* Raised insulin levels
* Can elevate bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and lower good cholesterol (HDL) levels
* Can contribute to diabetes and heart disease
By no means am I suggesting that you be "that house" on Halloween and eliminate all the holiday fun. However, there is a balance and a degree of moderation that can be exercised to make Halloween a healthier time for both parents and tots.
What you can do:
* Get rid of over 50 per cent of the food your child has collected and/or leftover goodies that were not given away. Donate it or throw it out. Having it in the house is too much of a temptation for all ages.
* Replace chocolate bars - featuring trans fatty acids and too much sugar - with small cut up squares of dark chocolate that are heart healthy and rich in antioxidants. Keep small bite sizes in the freezer and grab when you are craving a sweet treat.
* Exercise portion control. Many chocolate bars come in "thin" sizes with half the calories.
* Substitute in foods with healthier, naturally occurring sugars such as fruits and fruit juice. Over the fall and winter months, baked apples with cinnamon and sprinkled chocolate is a perfect treat to satiate any sweet tooth.
Take home point:
Remember, it is best to allow yourself to indulge from time to time. Practice the 80-20 rule of eating. In other words, eat healthy 80 per cent of the time and allow yourself to fall off the health wagon and indulge 20 per cent of the time.
By doing so, you will avoid temptation and feelings of deprivation that can lead to future food binges. In addition, become a label reader and replace white sugary products with foods that contain naturally occurring sugars. Watch out for products whose first or second ingredient is glucose, high fructose corn syrup or sugar.
Happy Halloween!Dr. Joey Shulman is the author of the national best seller The Natural Makeover Diet (Wiley, 2005). For more information, visit www.drjoey.com