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Eat Right

What all that Halloween candy will do to your body

With Halloween just around the corner, we see a whole lot of Kit Kats, Sour Patch Kids and Sweetarts on the horizon. It’s almost impossible to control ourselves when presented with such a plethora of sugary delights, but that's the problem with this time of year, isn't it? We trick-or-treat for candy, but our bodies aren’t meant to take in mass amounts of sugar.

But what exactly qualifies as "mass amounts?" The recommended amount of sugar for people is about six teaspoons a day, but most Americans easily have over three times that amount on a normal day, (loads more during October candy binges). The main issue is “added sugar” which is full of fructose, and fructose is not processed the same way as everything else—even other kinds of sugar. Glucose (another type of sugar) is found in every cell in our bodies—we need to consume it *and* create it ourselves. Fructose is not the same. Our bodies don’t make it as much and we have no need to. It’s metabolized directly into fat, which can cause a lot of health issues if consumed too much. Something like high fructose corn syrup doesn’t have any of the nutrients of other foods, only lots of calories and pure energy. When you have too much of it, the only place that can process it is your liver. While some of this fructose is turned into fat, some of it can’t get out and stays in the liver, which can overload and damage the organ.

Sugar also affects your insulin levels because the sugar will stop insulin from working the way it’s supposed to. Insulin is what makes the cells in your body burn sugar, and without that hormone, it can affect your metabolism. Such effects can even cause obesity and many other diseases like metabolic syndrome, heart disease and type II diabetes.

While those are the more severe effects of intense sugar intake, there are also ones more basic that you probably already noticed last Halloween. Break outs are related to sugar intake, since all that fructose can wreak havoc on your skin. It also totally drains you, since the sugar high only lasts you so long before you start to feel groggy with a pounding headache. It can cause lots and lots of cavities, too.

With all these health problems, sugar can seem pretty evil, but it’s not meant to be. Here are some tips to keep yourself both healthy and happy this Halloween, without overdoing it on the sugar.

1. Eat in moderation. Halloween night is super exciting, but eating every piece of candy you’ve picked up in a single sitting will probably make you feel sick right away. Have a few pieces of candy on Halloween night, and save the rest for later!

2. Take less. Not crazy about Reese's? Avoid snatching them up when you hit up houses. Any candy that you don’t love has no reason to be in your stash. And if you think you probably won’t eat it anyway, why waste the space in your sack? Additionally, try picking just one piece of candy at each house when you trick-or-treat instead of an entire handful.

3. Share it! Give some to your parents, siblings, cousins, friends or teachers—you’ve got plenty to spare! Spread the love and distribute the sugar so it’s not just all going in your body.

How will you keep healthy this Halloween? Tell us about it in the comments!

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by Amy Garcia | 10/17/2016
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