Okay ghouls and goblins, the macabre is upon us. So here are some Halloween inspired health points. Read them, if you dare:
Many say the evidence contradicts such stories. "There is no scientific basis to the idea that sugar and/or candy has any major effect on children's behavior, particularly if they eat OK," says Dian Dooley, professor of human nutrition, food and animal sciences at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Others think sugar has plenty of skeletons in its closet. "The bottom line is that the ingestion of too much high-glycemic carbohydrate causes a rapid rise and then fall of blood sugar," says Dr. David Ludwig, professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and director of the Optimal Weight for Life program at Children's Hospital Boston. "This triggers a series of metabolic and hormonal changes that can affect appetite and behavior for hours to come."
If your trick-or-treaters forgo candy for inedible treats, here's what they'll save in calories (same for you parents if you dip into your kids' candy bowls):
20 pieces of candy corn ... 100 calories
2 Brachs caramels ... 80 calories
2 Hershey's kisses ... 50 calories
"M&Ms are 5.01 calories per gram whereas the Smarties are 4.166 calories per gram," he said. "So the Smarties seem to be a better choice.
BUT only slightly. Here is where packaging is important. On the Nestle website (Canada), they show 1 box as only 12 grams, or 50 calories. That's not too bad. Whereas the M&Ms show a serving size of 1.69 ounces or 47.9 grams."
Yet as we all know, you can, and should, eat only so much of the sweet stuff. Besides, knowing what you're going to get is boring. So why not shake it up this year and toss something a little different in your trick-or-treaters' treat sacks?
There is a wonderful array of inedible treats available in local stores and on the Internet. Many cost about the same price as candy and are nearly as much fun. Moreover, they're calorie-free.
At Target, for example, a 25-pack of mini Play-Doh cans is on sale for $3.99. That's just 16 cents each, or about the same cost as a treat-sized bag of Doritos or an individual box of Junior Mints. An eight-pack of those trendy gel pens -- which can write on dark paper -- costs a mere buck.
- Well, giving out candy might not be doing kids any favors, but, highly doubt passing out pork is any better. Get a load of this article in The Los Angeles Times:
With Halloween just around the corner, I thought you [might] be interested in the fact that October is national pork month," writes Victor Domine of Bender Hammerling Group, which handles public relations for French's mustard and french fried onions. Maybe this is what those kids who wear braces get to eat -- or is Domine suggesting that folks pig out Wednesday night? It's a policy we cannot in good conscience endorse.
Halloween, it seems, is not just about pork. It's also about dairy. "We thought maybe a light and fun story that revolves around scary skeletons, building bones and calcium and vitamin D-fortified snack foods would be of interest to you," writes Kevin Hughes of Peacock Communications on behalf of Precious Cheese. Well, we guess this might go down better with the kids than the healthful celery-sticks-dipped-in-peanut-butter treat suggested by UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Personally, I’ll be giving out little boxes of raisins—sorry kids!