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Tricks for Healthy Treats

Dr. Deepa Patel

mom helping kids pack lunchHalloween is just around the corner which comes with an increase of temptation to eat candy and other sweets acquired during trick-or-treating.

Most store-bought candy is composed of artificial coloring and refined processed sugar, which in small amounts, can be okay to consume.

Candy, cakes, cookies and other items that are more readily available around this time of year are made with high amounts of refined sugars. Sugar cane and sugar beets are two plants that refined sugar is extracted from to produce white and brown sugars.

In order to extract sugar from either plant, it must undergo multiple chemical steps, making it less and less healthy for our bodies.

Food manufacturers also add chemically produced sugar, typically high-fructose corn syrup, to foods and beverages. Practicing moderation can be difficult for some and lead to an increased risk of developing obesity, dental, and other health issues.

The body metabolizes various sugars we consume differently. The body breaks down refined sugar rapidly, causing insulin and blood sugar levels to skyrocket. Once the sugar passes through the stomach and reaches the small intestine, it doesn’t matter if it came from an apple or a soft drink. This is why choosing healthier choices early on is critical.

Some great alternatives to the traditional halloween candy include giving out all natural fruit leather, small bags of pretzels or trail mix. Organic granola bars or all natural apple sauce with no sugar added are other great healthy alternatives. Vegan organic fruit snacks with no artificial colors can also be found. Freeze dried raspberries and blueberries provide that “sour” like taste that you would otherwise get from Sour Patch Kids. Keep in mind it will take a little longer for children to get used to the taste of naturally sweetened treats but in the long run, you won’t have a sugar crash to deal with.


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