What is the scariest part of Halloween? If you ask the parents, it is the possibility of their children consuming 3.4 pounds of candy, 7,000 calories, 3 cups of sugar or 220 sugar packets in just one day. This is what the average American devours over Halloween, data shows. Candy is not a staple food and should never be perceived as anything more than a treat. But the different kinds of sweet delicacy are not created equal and, even when consumed occasionally and in small portions, they can cause a lot of harm.
This favorite treat is full of refined sugar and preservatives. Just two peanut butter cups have 13 grams of fat, which is 20 percent of the recommended daily value, and 21 grams of sugar. The sweets also contain TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone) to maintain freshness. It can be toxic. A study found more cases of vision disturbances among people consuming TBHQ.
Dark chocolate has high coca content and a lot of fiber. It is a powerful source of antioxidants called polyphenols and flavonoids that may decrease your risk for heart disease. Cocoa is good because of fermentation by gut bacteria, creating anti-inflammatory compounds that improve blood vessel function, according to research.
These sweet-sour treats have a lot of sugar (26 grams for a serving size of just 16) and invert sugar, which is a sweetener made up both glucose and fructose corn syrup. They also contain modified corn starch, tartaric acid, citric acid, natural and artificial flavoring. All of these can lead to tooth decay and diabetes.
These Halloween cookies are made of unbleached wheat flour, organic sugar and natural flavors. Plus, they have no preservatives or artificial colors or flavors which makes them a healthier choice. Ingredients are GMO-free, free of trans fats. The cookies are also made with rBST-free butter (rBST is a hormone injected in cows to make them produce more milk).
Technically, candy corn is a mellowcreme, a type of confection made from sugar, corn syrup, honey and wax. Yes, wax. This candy mainly consists of sugar in the form of high-fructose corn syrup — the most refined type of sugar that is also genetically modified. It also contains artificial flavors and colors. Kids can easily end up eating 300 calories in a few seconds without realizing it.
These sweet snacks are certified organic. They are also vegan and gluten-free, made with real fruit juice and packed with 100 percent daily value of vitamin C. They are sweetened with organic tapioca syrup, and organic cane sugar, and colored with turmeric, black carrot juice and annatto. They contain no artificial flavors, synthetic colors or preservatives.
These rainbow-colored candies and chocolate are made with high-fructose corn syrup, more refined sugar, hydrogenated palm oil, and artificial food dye and flavors. M&Ms are high in fat as well. They also contain soy lecithin, which is genetically-modified, to help keep ingredients emulsified. It has been linked to breast cancer, according to Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
Dried fruits, including raisins, are naturally loaded with fiber. Raisins also help reduce inflammation in the body, because they have resveratrol, an antioxidant with anti-cancer and blood cholesterol lowering abilities. Watch your portion size, though, because when they come in a sugary shell, the calories can add up quickly. A quarter of a cup contains about 150 calories.
They are sticky, waxy, and very bad for your teeth. They’re made of not-so-nutritious ingredients like hydrogenated soybean oil and artificial flavors and colors. Additionally, just six small Tootsie Roll pieces can contain about 20 grams of sugar. That’s pretty close to the amount that the American Heart Association says kids should limit their intake to for just one day.
These vegan treats contain organic evaporated cane juice, organic rice syrup, non-GMO citric acid (from beet sugar, not corn), and natural flavors. They may also have organic black carrots, organic black currant, organic apple, organic carrot, organic pumpkin, ascorbic acid. The Yummy Earth Lollipops are USDA Certified Organic.
Shutterstock/ Keith Homan
These “unexplainably juicy” treats are the worst for your teeth as they made of sugar, sugar and more sugar – or, to be exact, corn syrup, sugar and apple-juice concentrate. There are 23 grams of sugar in 10 pieces. These processed fruit chews are also full of artificial flavors and colors. Starbursts can increase acidity in the mouth, which could break down tooth enamel.
One fun-size candy bar is 16 grams, literally half of which is sugar. The rest is carbs and fat. The candy also contains artificial flavors, corn syrup and soy lecithin. Also, the amount of exercise it will take you to burn off one fun-size bar, which contains 80 calories, is 20 squat jumps, 6 minutes of walking and 2 minutes of kettlebell swings.
Justin’s creamy, chocolate peanut butter cups are gluten-free and made with organic ingredients. These treats are a much healthier version of the traditional Reese’s Peanut Butter cups as the peanuts in these are organic, non- GMO and there are no preservatives or trans fats.
Shutterstock/ Levent Konuk
They are full of sugar and artificial color and flavoring. Just 4 pieces contain 160 calories, 19 grams of sugar and absolutely no vitamins. Twizzlers also have soy lecithin. They are also made with cornstarch, shortening, which is a trans-fat used in foods that are aging you, and molasses, a sweetener extracted from sugar cane and sugar beets.
Each honey straw has about 15 calories, 1 teaspoon of Grade A honey and has 4g of carbs. Honey straws are gluten-free and peanut-free. Honey Stix are 100 percent natural. Natural extracts are added to offer different flavors. Pure honey stick varieties with no flavorings or colorings include Blackberry, Buckwheat, Clover, Orange Blossom, Star Thistle, and Wildflower.
Chewing gum often contains lanolin, a waxy substance derived from sheep wool, and artificial sweeteners, which can be potentially dangerous. Chewing causes you to swallow excess air, which leads to bloating and abdominal pain. Research shows that people who chew gum were less likely to eat fruit and instead were more motivated to eat junk food like potato chips and candy.
This sweet treat is a calorie bomb. Just 5 pieces contain 190 calories, 72 of which are from saturated fat, which increase cholesterol levels, and 25 grams of sugar. This is about 6 tsp of sugar per serving. Milky Way Minis also contain fully hydrogenated oils. The chocolate is processed with alkali, cocoa butter, milkfat, soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavors.
A single serving of about 60 g is high in calories, fat and carbohydrates, according to LiveStrong. Butterfinger candy bars contain sugar from several ingredients; a high percentage of corn syrup, and molasses, thick viscous syrup with a bittersweet flavor. Butterfingers also contain TBHQ and annatto coloring which can cause irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, and stomach pain.
This candy bar has a lot more than five ingredients. Major components include high fructose corn syrup, fattening vegetable oils, which is a major trans-fat source, artificial flavors and the carrageenan, indigestible polysaccharide made from seaweed. A single bar contains 210 calories, 5 grams of saturated fat (the bad kind), and 18 grams of sugar.
This is the perfect guilt-free treat. Pecans are rich in magnesium which is known for its anti-inflammatory and lowering blood pressure abilities. This is a quick dessert you can make yourself. Melt butter over medium-high heat, add pecans and toss to coat, add some sugar and stir until caramelized, spread on wax paper and cool, according to Food.com.