Nutrition Certification Blog

Treats Don’t Need To Be a Trick!

Halloween is a favorite time of year for kids and adults alike. Being able to dress up and pretend to be someone we aren’t is great fun. But along with dressing up comes something even scarier than Dracula trying to suck out your blood…candy.

Today’s candy is nothing but sugar, fat and artificial colors. All of which cause nothing but health problems.  To those smart parents who pass out non-food related items, comes scorn and ridicule. Our little goblins gobble down candy bar after candy bar creating havoc in their bodies.

Halloween is the holiday season kickoff. Just as we get over our belly-aches from all the candy we’ve consumed, Thanksgiving is upon us and right after that Christmas and Hanukkah and all the “festivities” around the end of the year.

Everywhere you look we are bombarded with ads, commercials and hidden messages about junk food.  Junk foods disguised as healthy treats are in abundance on the grocery store shelves.

The single largest source of calories for Americans comes from sugar—specifically high fructose corn syrup. Just take a look at the sugar consumption trends of the past 300 years:

  • In 1700, the average person consumed about 4 pounds of sugar per year.
  • In 1800, the average person consumed about 18 pounds of sugar per year.
  • In 1900, individual consumption had risen to 90 pounds of sugar per year.
  • In 2009, more than 50 percent of all Americans consume one-half pound of sugar PER DAY—translating to a whopping 180 pounds of sugar per year!

Sugar is loaded into your soft drinks, fruit juices, sports drinks, and hidden in almost all processed foods—from bologna to pretzels to Worcestershire sauce to cheese spread. And now most infant formula has the sugar equivalent of one can of Coca-Cola, so babies are being metabolically poisoned from day one if taking sugar laden formula.

No wonder there is an obesity epidemic in this country. (i)

Sugar is a master of disguise.

  • Fructose, Sucrose, Dextrose
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Evaporated Cane Juice
  • Florida Crystals
  • Agave Syrup
  • Molasses
  • Honey
  • Stevia
  • Sugar Alcohol

All of these are a form of sugar in one way or another. What may appear to be healthy actually contains hidden sugars.

zombieWhen you think of sugar substitutes, think zombies.

There is quite a bit of controversy over the use of sugar substitutes.  These alternatives are chemical abominations.

Plain and simple, it would be healthier to eat sugar than it would to use an alternative. You can find out more about sugars and sugar substitutes (the good, the bad, and the ugly) in our Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist™ manual.

Aspartame is thought to be linked to migraines. One of its main ingredients, methyl alcohol, once ingested, converts into formaldehyde (a deadly neurotoxin).

Splenda is the trade name for sucralose; a synthetic compound stumbled upon in 1976 by scientists in Britain seeking a new pesticide formulation. (ii)

Sucralose is thought to be responsible for a variety of ailments: headaches, blurred vision, short-term dizziness, and more serious long term effects such as depression and weight gain.(iii)

That information is scarier than the shower scene in Psycho!

To survive the Halloween horrors, some planning is in order.
Here are some tips to get you through Halloween without the fear of sugar monsters attacking you in your sleep.

  1. Eat first! You are less likely to overindulge on party food or trick or treat candy if you have eaten first. So get the family together and have a healthy meal before Halloween festivities begin.
  2. Pass up candy and pass out fun! Instead of candy this year, give out small toys, stick on tattoos, or something else that’s fun.
  3. Roast the pumpkin seeds when you carve your pumpkin for a healthy, yummy snack!
  4. Going to a party? Search the internet for fun, healthy recipes for “scary snacks” for kids and grownups alike.
  5. Be sure to exercise! This time of year it’s even more crucial to keep up the exercise regime and keep down the weight gain.
  6. Practice what you preach. You can’t teach your kids good eating habits if yours are scarier than a horde of zombies chasing you.
  7. When possible, apply the 20 Percent Rule to the foods you eat.
  8. When shopping, remember to stay in the perimeter of the supermarkets; that is where the wholesome foods are found. Sugar is patient, like a spider, waiting to ensnare you in its web. Don’t stray from the outside of the store and stick to whole, fresh foods.
  9. Water is your sword. Combat the party foes with at least half of your body weight in water each day.
  10. Have fun! This time of year is all about having fun. And if you’re too busy worrying about candy and weight gain, you just might miss all the fun!


i.   The 76 Dangers of Sugar to Your Health, Mercola, 2010
ii. Methanol toxicity from aspartame may cause autism, spina bifida, preterm delivery and more, Natural News, 2012
iii. Is Splenda Safe? Examining the Dangers of this ‘Sugar Alternative’, Natural Society, 2012

© 2015 Lucho Crisalle, CEO, Exercise & Nutrition Works, Inc.

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