As we approach Halloween, adults and children around the world get excited over what a night of dressing up and hanging out with friends truly means: free candy. With all of the special editions of our varied favorites making light in time for the holiday—ranging from pumpkin-shaped Reese’s to the ever controversial candy corn—it’s a bit difficult to keep away from all that sugar.
And yet, it is important to realize just how avoiding this ghoulish treats will be more beneficial to our minds, bodies and souls in the long run. For someone who enjoys sweets a great deal, it is difficult to write this—but it is nevertheless important to completely understand the dangers of sugar for further benefits to our well-being.
1) There are no benefits to ingesting sugar: Sugar truly has no benefits to your health; much like some individuals feel about beer, sugar is truly just “empty calories.” As reported by Wellness Mama, sugar by itself—not what we find naturally in fruits and vegetables—contains no nutrients, no protein, no healthy fats and no enzymes. There’s no real way to justify eating a bunch of Halloween candy when you may be just as satisfied by eating an apple (well, maybe not, but we can pretend).
2) Plus, what the hell is in the majority of Halloween candy?: Truthfully, it is best not to eat anything with ingredients that you either do not know or are unable to pronounce. However, in the U.S. food infrastructure, this method is almost impossible; rather, it is best to look out for some ingredients in food and avoid them. “Ingredients” to avoid include high fructose corn syrup, Sucralose and any other type of unnatural sweetener. You already know not to eat a bucket full of lard, so why would you eat a candy bar full of artificial flavoring?
3) Sugar beats your body down: Again, we know that we need to limit our daily intake of sugar, but do we know why? Prevention Magazine, in conjunction with The Sugar Smart Diet, published a list just this last year that shows the body’s damage from sugar. This includes making your organs fat, increases your chances of heart disease and stroke, and promotes spikes in bad cholesterol. Additionally, ingesting too much sugar too often can lead to cavities or diabetes. Do you really want the chance to suffer from any of these effects?
4) It also is no good for your mental health: Aside from all the effects of sugar on your body, it also doesn’t do well on your brain. Dr. David Sack for Psychology Today writes that sugar can do a great deal of damage to an individual in terms of depression, addiction, anxiety and learning and memory. Although you may be enjoying that Kit-Kat or slice of pumpkin pie now, it could legitimately lead you to depression in the future—which will only make you want more sugar, and start a terribly cyclical cycle.
5) Attempt to substitute, or, at least, limit!: Since viewing the recent film Fed Up about the sugar industry’s strong hold on the U.S. Food Industry, a person may believe that they need to eat only 25 grams of sugar (as a woman) or 37.5 grams of sugar (as a man) per day. However, with our country’s food infrastructure, this is a difficult task. Hence, as long as you are able to drastically cut out added sugars from your diet, or substitute artificial snacks for natural foods, you will see a change in your diet—and often one that you won’t want to change in the future.
Don’t gorge this Halloween everyone! Remember, maybe a small caramel apple really is a better idea than that King-Size Snicker’s—just don’t eat something this sweet every day!