Shopping in supermarkets this month, I couldn’t help noticing that what had been the ‘back to school’ aisle has since been swamped by spooky costumes, creepy house décor and a ton of weird-looking sweets such as milk chocolate eyeballs, petrifying pumpkin cake and zombie fingers.
In my local ASDA, the area around the aisle was like a playground, with children trying on face masks and hacking each other with plastic machetes. But the real hazard was the special offer on Halloween candies, prompting parents to load up with dangerous amounts of sugar and head to the checkout.
We tend to treat it lightly but so much sugar can seriously spook your health.
According to NHS guidelines, children aged four to six should consume less than 19g of sugar a day, while 24g is the maximum amount recommended for children aged seven to 10 years old. Many children regularly ingest twice this amount, and the table below suggests that at Halloween they are likely to triple the dosage!
|Halloween Treat||Sugar Content|
|Milky Bar Ghost||56.8g|
|M&M’s Spooky Colours||53.5g|
Once Trick or Treat is over and children’s pumpkin baskets are full of candy, parents should split the contents into daily rations and prevent sugar bingeing on a single night of sweet excess.
Of course the kids might not like it, as seen in Jimmy Kimmel’s YouTube challenge ‘I told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy.’ But even pester power is not as frightening as the potential effects of sugar on human health: weight gain and rising cholesterol levels, tooth decay, increased risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Truly scary stuff!
Photo: Jack O’Lantern by Toby Order, used under Creative Commons license.