Long gone are the days when young trick or treaters travel from door to door getting fruit and popcorn from their neighbors. Instead, the new “normal” is to give out as much candy as possible and at the end of Halloween night the children’s bags are chock full of sugar-filled, unhealthy items.
Nutrition experts (and dentists) cringe every time October 31 rolls around, but this year parents can not only do their part in giving out healthier treats, but they can also be sure to monitor what their children are eating, too.
We all know that too much sugar is bad for anyone, but do we know what effects too much sugar can have on our children? Nutrition experts offer the following points:
• Children that consume too much sugar and too many carbs, can suffer from hypoglycemia causing fatigue, poor concentration, mood swings and frequent illness.
• Too many “empty calories” can mean that children aren’t getting the nutrients they need on a daily basis.
• A new diabetic is diagnosed every 8 minutes, a threefold increase in the past 5 to 6 years when a new diabetic was diagnosed every 23 minutes.
• Recent research has shown that more than 20% of school-aged children are obese and more than 50% are overweight.
• Too much sugar can cause chronically elevated blood insulin levels triggering inflammatory problems and elevated cholesterol.
Now don’t get us wrong, this Halloween doesn’t have to be all “doom and gloom” when it comes to having a few treats.
Parents need to be very careful in monitoring what their child puts into their mouth and how often they are turning to sugary items.
Ration the sugary products over a longer period of time and incorporate them with a protein snack.
Having a protein, especially before the sugar snack, will slow and reduce the rate and quantity of insulin secreted by the pancreas, thereby reducing many of the risks stated above.
Here is to a Healthy and Happy Halloween. Enjoy!