Halloween is this weekend, and if you’ve walked through the grocery store recently, you know just how much sugar is on the shelves. Obviously, things like candy corn and marshmallow pumpkins are just packed with sugar, but you might be surprised at how many other foods contain sugar. Even things that we consider to be good for us contain natural sugars. There’s sugar in milk, there’s sugar in fruit, there’s even sugar in whole grain bread. Although sugar can be found in many different foods, that doesn’t mean that we should avoid eating anything that contains sugar. However, it does mean that we have to make efforts to limit the amount of added sugar that we consume each day.
Here’s an interesting fact. An apple contains 19 grams of sugar. A Kit Kat chocolate bar contains 20 grams of sugar. However, this doesn’t mean that you can replace eating an apple with eating a Kit Kat bar. While the two might contain similar amounts of sugar, there’s a big difference in eating an apple and eating a candy bar.
For starters, the sugar is different. Your body needs a little bit of natural sugars, such as fructose and lactose, and these sugar are metabolized differently than the refined sugar (sucrose) your body doesn’t need. But beyond the sugar is the fact that apples contain vitamins and nutrients and fiber, whereas that candy bar is basically just sugar, and contains no nutritional value.
The American Heart Association says that adult males should consume no more than 37.5 grams of added sugar a day, and adult females should consume no more than 25 grams of added sugar each day. The average American consumes almost 100 grams of sugar each day. That’s not just on Halloween! Eating excessive amounts of refined or added sugar has been shown to lead to health complications such as nutrient deficiencies, tooth decay, obesity, diabetes, and liver disease.
Instead of contributing to a sugar-overload this Halloween, try some healthy alternatives this Halloween. Get creative and play with shapes and colors rather than rely on a big bag of refined sugar. Use cookie cutters to make foods in the shape of pumpkins, ghosts, or bats. There are a number of healthy foods that fit the Halloween color scheme.
- You can get orange from oranges or cheese.
- Get green from spinach, kiwi, celery, green grapes, or avocado.
- Find purple in red grapes and plums.
- Use olives or blackberries for black.
Making healthy Halloween treats is not only better for you than sugary candy, but it’s also more fun and more festive!
image from flickr