Halloween: Sugar Overload

Health Watch is a Public Service of the University News Bureau and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about keeping the bad scares out of Halloween. For dentists and dietitians, the scariest part of Halloween isn’t the costumes or haunted houses. It’s the sugar that gets added to kids’ diets.

That sack full of Halloween treats could also be full of health hazards. Excess sugar in the diet has been associated with obesity and diabetes. Nutrition experts suggest that we enjoy sweets in moderation, but what does that mean? The American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams of added sugar a day for women and no more than 37.5 grams a day for men. Lona Sandon, a registered dietitian at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says the key word is “added.” Some sugar occurs naturally in foods, and nutrition labels don’t distinguish between natural sugars and those added in processing. Generally, if sugar is one of the top three ingredients listed, there’s probably added sugar in the food. Candy is full of added sugars.


October 2011

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