Judge Your Child's Halloween Candy Haul on Health Impact
Author says parents should analyze what sweets are best from nutritional perspective.
Children of all ages enjoy Halloween – not just the ghouls and goblins and Trick or Treating – but the candy rewards they receive that night.
The candy may not be healthy – even if they look and taste similar, but how do parents know which ones will cause the least damage?
Author Gloria Tsang, who wrote the new book, “Go UnDiet: 50 Small Actions for Lasting Weight Loss” and is also the founder of nutrition network HealthCastle.com, says choosing the right candy can reduce the health impact of your kid's trick-or-treat haul.
"With big differences in calories, sugar, and quality of ingredients used, it's just not true that all Halloween candy is the same," Tsang said. "None of them are exactly good for you, but we've done some close analysis of common competitors to see which options are best from a nutrition perspective."
Tsang has compiled the following list of Halloween candy winners and losers:
● Payday beats Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups: Reese’s contains polyglycerol polyricinoleate (PGPR), a commercial emulsifier used to reduce cocoa butter. Plus, PayDay is the only candy to list peanuts, not sugar, as the first ingredient.
● Kit Kat beats Twix: They're similar in calories and sugar (and both include PGPR), but Twix’s ingredient list is surprisingly long. Even more surprising? Twix is marketed as a biscuit topped with caramel and chocolate, but there’s no caramel on the ingredient list.
● M&Ms beat Skittles: Both contestants in this classic Halloween showdown contain artificial colorings and wax. M&Ms at least offer a tiny amount of calcium and protein, and less sugar.
● Baby Ruth beats Snickers: There's no real winner here – Snickers has partially hydrogenated oil, and Baby Ruth has high-fructose corn syrup and the preservative TBHQ. Snickers loses out simply because the portion is larger, leaving room for more calories.
● Mounds beats Almond Joy: Mounds has a shorter ingredient list, and skips the partially hydrogenated oil found in Almond Joy.
● 3 Musketeers beats Hershey Milk Chocolate: The Hershey bar has that sneaky PGPR, while 3 Musketeers was unique among the candies surveyed in actually including real cocoa powder.
● Whoppers beat Milk Duds: Milk Duds will stick to your (or your kid's) teeth, so they're a no-no for anyone with dental issues. Plus, the smaller Whoppers serving saves some calories.
Tsang advises parents to limit their children to eating two or three small treats at a time so they can enjoy their haul without gorging themselves.