Have you ever stopped to notice that some of the most popular and most frequently used terms of endearment have to do with sugar?
Sweetie, honey, sugar lips…cupcake. Cookie.
I’m hungry just thinking about it! It’s interesting to me that we equate love and all things related to that big emotion with sweets. When truthfully, having an excess of sugar in our diet is bad for us! But I guess calling your S.O. broccoli or green bean just doesn’t have the same ring. “Love you, Brussels sprout!” Yeah, that’s just not working for me.
While being in love and spending time with the sweeties in your life can be oh-so-good for your heart, consuming too much actual sugar can do quite the opposite. Eating too much sugar on a regular basis can raise your blood pressure and increase inflammation throughout your body. It can also lead to weight gain, diabetes, and liver disease, and it can ultimately increase your risk for heart attack and stroke.
There are some studies that even suggest sugar is as addictive as certain drugs. When you eat something sweet, your brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of pleasure, satisfaction, and motivation—all the feels in regards to the reward center in your brain. It makes you want that feeling to last, right? So you continue to crave sugar, often experiencing a rush of pleasure and energy, quickly followed by a crash, fatigue, and possibly other less than stellar physical symptoms, and then you crave it and start the cycle all over again. Sugar addiction is even more common in people with higher levels of stress or anxiety, meaning we all run the risk of falling into this trap from time to time. Scary, right?
5 Candies That are Scarier than Halloween
Even though these treats and the sugar they have might seem scariery than Halloween, there’s definitely an argument to be made for making room in your life for the things you love (yes, even candy). Why? It all boils down to this one word: Balance. And being able to enjoy a treat from time to time without letting it become a constant habit is key.
So, as we head into the scariest time of the year, let’s eliminate the fear of sugar with a few simple truths. I’m sharing 5 candies that are scarier than Halloween itself plus some of my favorite swaps that you can confidently enjoy instead.
Love it or hate it (which, btw, are you team Candy Corn or team No Candy Corn?), Candy Corn has a pretty bad reputation of being one of the worst candies for you in terms of health. Just one serving of about 15 pieces has double the amount of sugar of a regular candy bar.
Instead of grabbing a handful of these candies, opt instead for something like peanut M&Ms if you’re set on getting a sugar-fix. You’re going to get some protein and fiber in your serving which will help prevent your blood sugar from spiking with the sugar intake.
Even though Smarties are decent in terms of calories, those calories are empty, meaning they’re not providing you with any nutritional benefit. In fact, you’re eating pretty much pure sugar, which isn’t very “smarty” if you ask me.
Instead, opt for some fresh fruit to grab and go. Things like berries, an apple, a banana, OR if you really want candy, you could grab some HU Kitchen Gems. You’re trading something super sweet for something chocolate, but these candies are vegan, organic, and contain only three ingredients: Cacao, coconut sugar, and cocoa butter.
Gummy Bears and Jelly Beans
I’m lumping these two together because they’re pretty similar! Both are, again, full of sugar without any other nutrients or protein, so they’re not going to benefit you in any way. Instead, the calories are “empty,” so your body will use the sugar as a spike in energy and store any extra calories as fat.
Instead of indulging in these sweet treats, opt for healthier or organic versions if you can find any like Fruit-tella Gummies, Yum Earth Sour Beans, or a That’s It Fruit Snack Bar. I love them because they’re made with 100% real fruit and that’s it.
While these are a staple for just about any holiday anywhere you go, Tootsie Rolls are actually pretty bad for you. While they’re low in fat, they’re high in sugar, and again, full of those empty calories. Instead, opt for something a little healthier (but still just as sweet) like my mom’s famous Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls.
Sugar gets a bad rap, I know. But, it doesn’t have to be the thing that breaks your willpower, halts your progress, or keeps you up at night. Instead, make sugar afraid of YOU this Halloween when you show it who’s boss. What are your favorite Halloween healthy sweet treats? Please share!
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