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Trick or Treat: The Real Dangers of Halloween Candy
Candy is what makes Halloween one of the best holidays of the year. When else can you go around with your kids and collect buckets filled with candy? What's not to love? Sadly, it's also one of the least healthy of the holidays. The dangers of Halloween candy are VERY real! There are many downsides to overdoing it on the sweets this Halloween:
We all know that too much sugar is bad for your teeth. But even a small amount of sugar can lead to tooth decay. The sugar stays in your mouth, and it feeds the bacteria that are always present around your gums and in the crevices between your teeth. Even just one candy bar can seriously increase the risk of cavities. Sugar will also increase the acidity in your mouth. This acid pH balance can speed up the wear on your enamel. Definitely not the best for good oral health.
Blood Sugar Spikes
When you eat a piece of fruit, you are consuming a bit of fiber to slow down the sugar intake. But when you eat candy, there is no fiber to slow the sugar down. All the sugar hits your bloodstream in a rush. Too much sugar in your bloodstream can be a very bad thing, so your body responds by lowering your blood sugar levels. However, this "crash" causes your body to crave sugar, so you end up overindulging. The crashes and spikes in your blood sugar can cause all sorts of problems, including the insulin resistance that leads to diabetes.
Sugar, as mentioned above, is VERY acidic. It can throw off the internal pH of your body. Too much acidity in your body encourages bacteria to flourish. High sugar consumption can increase your risk of urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and a host of other infections. In fact, an acidic pH may also contribute to a higher cancer risk, as cancer cells flourish in an acidic environment. The high acidity resulting from eating too much sugar is something you DEFINITELY want to avoid.
Fiber is needed for healthy elimination of waste. When you eat a lot of food that contains very little fiber, you throw off your digestive system. Candy is one of those foods that contains NO fiber at all, but a whole lot of sugar. The sugar can affect your digestive function, and the lack of fiber will make things worse. The sugar-rich candies can throw leave you with an upset stomach, indigestion, constipation, and nausea.
This is the real kicker with candy! Candy is surprisingly high in calories: just one full-sized Snickers bar packs 250 calories. Imagine what happens when you eat a few handfuls of chocolates, caramels, and candies in one sitting. You could end up easily pounding 1,000 calories in a single night. Worst of all, it's all sugar, and there's ZERO nutritional value. Your body turns sugar into fat more easily than it turns fat into stored fat. Eating a lot of sugar is the quickest way to gain unwanted weight. It's not the healthy weight you pack on when building muscle, but it's that stubborn fat that is incredibly difficult to burn.
Remember all that sugar promoting the growth of bacteria in your mouth? Well, that bacteria releases a stinky gas when it eats the sugar. Too much candy can cause bad breath, and may even lead to problems like halitosis or gum infection. The problems get even worse if you spend all day eating your candy—more sugar for the bacteria to feed on!