Who doesn’t love a good Halloween treat? Sweets and more specifically candy are a staple of this spooky celebration. But looming in that treat basket there is a lot more than just candy.
Sugar is unusual because unlike other foods, it doesn’t add value to your diet. People try to lower fat intake—which is not a bad thing—but some fats are necessary for your body to function. This isn’t true of added sugar; your body doesn’t need it.
In fact, sugar can be detrimental to your health. According to Harvard Health, a 15-year study revealed those who consumed 25% of their daily calories from sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease than those who had 10% or less of their calories come from sugar, even if they were skinny.
How much should you have?
According to the American Heart Association, women should be getting no more than 100 calories of sugar—that’s 6 teaspoons or 20 grams—per day. Men shouldn’t have more than 150 calories, which is about 9 teaspoons or 36 grams.
That sounds like a lot, but you’re likely eating a lot more sugar than you realize, because it’s added to everything.
Look at the nutrition facts of your packaged food. Chances are, it has sugar even if it’s a savory food. To calculate the sugar, look at the grams. There are four calories per gram. You can count the grams, or you can calculate the calories.
In one can of soda, there are about 33 grams of sugar, or 136 calories. In those 12 ounces alone, you are going over your daily recommended intake if you’re a woman, and nearly maxing out if you’re a man.
Tips to limiting sugar this Halloween
1. Cultivate the love for fresh fruits and introduce them as a sweet treat to your family
Instead of reaching for cookies, train yourself and your family to eat a piece of fruit instead. The natural sugars in fruit are healthier and could still satisfy a sweet tooth.
2. Allow for a Halloween treat!
Trick or Treat! Here comes Halloween and with it, a non-stop, cavity-inducing sugar high. We all know that sweets play a harmful role in tooth decay. But this doesn’t mean that your child is destined for a long list of dental problems. Taking certain steps can prevent tooth decay from hijacking your family’s oral health. Like make sure the whole family brushes their teeth after eating candy and always packing something nutritious to avoid overeating candy.
3. Limit yourself to one treat a day
If you’re used to snacking on small sugary things in between meals, this suggestion might be just the thing for you. Tell yourself you can only have one sugary thing a day. Sure, you’re still having sugar, but you’ll be more mindful of your decisions throughout the day (and more likely savor the treat you eat).
4. Swap out white sugar for more natural sugars
Instead of using refined sugars, learn to substitute real honey, agave, or maple syrup. It’s still sugar, so be aware of your portions. Honey has quite a few calories—more than sugar, but because it’s sweeter than sugar, you can use less of it to sweeten things.
5. Have Fun! Create some cute and healthy treats that are not loaded with sugar.
You can create amazing healthy snacks this Halloween with a little help from the internet, like fruity ghosts and pumpkins. monsters’ teeth apple slices, green eyes grapes. Here’s a great list we found for 16 Healthy Halloween Snacks!
Here at South Miami Family Dental we are always available to help! If you have any questions on do’s and don’ts when it comes to your dental health, just give us a call! Happy Halloween!