It's not even Halloween and I'm already filling the ill effects of high fructose corn syrup indulgence. I'm not sure why, but every year there are more and more options for kid's trick or treating events. Yesterday was our first. As we left with pails of candy, my son was so gracious to offer me all of his snickers. It all went down hill from there.
Over the next few weeks my wife and I will spend much or our day rationing out and hiding candy from the kids. We will also be fighting our natural urges of grabbing boxes of Nerd's and bags of Skittles for absolutely no reason other than it's there. It's a battle. I'll even justify the binge by saying "We need to get this out of the house in any way possible."
I don't want to be a downer on your Halloween festivities, but knowing this helped me think about how much candy I was going to eat over the next few days. For the most part, you should only take in about 50g of added fructose per day. Added fructose includes substances like high fructose corn syrup found in all those candies, juices and many other processed foods you may not even consider.
Here's a quick breakdown of a handful of Halloween candy. These are all the bite sized versions:
2 - Snickers 8.5g sugar
1- Box of Nerds 12g sugar
1 - Bag of Skittles 14.5g sugar
1 - Twix 8.5g sugar
This 52 grams of fructose can easily be taken down in about 60 seconds. Throw a roll of Smartees on top and that's another 25g. Add this number to the rest of the processed sugars you may be eating that day, and you're talking some high sugar numbers. This is actually not so uncommon. The average American adult gets about 20% of their daily intake from added sweeteners!
I think it's important to understand that indulging every now and then is okay. It's Halloween after all. But it's also important to understand just how little of this we should be ingesting daily. Eating more than 50g a day on a consistent basis can lead to some serious health problems and metabolic diseases. Getting natural fructose from whole foods like fruits don't have the same negative affect on our body as their man made counterparts. So choose wisely.
It's also good to teach your children about sugar and how to eat it responsibly. Most kids could live on a diet of Snickers and Smartees. Without being a complete Halloween Scrooge, try teaching them some lessons on how sugar affects their body. I tell my kids vegetables build muscles, sugar eats it (it's not true, but it works...sometimes). Try rationing it out as much as possible. Let them have one piece a day. Or my favorite, use it as a bribery tactic when you need them to do something and don't want to yell at them 100 times to do it.