Food Topics

This is Halloween: The Scariest Thing About Today

In the midst of current events, what is one thing a nutrition student thinks is “scary?”

Happy Halloween everyone!  Hopefully everyone has a safe holiday, whether you are Trick-or-Treating, or going to another drinking party, or even staying home watching horror movies or playing horror games.  Or even not celebrating Halloween, that’s fine too, I guess.

In life there are many fears.  There’s the fear of things like climate change, the upcoming United States election, failing college courses and having to retake them etc.  Well, one thing you should really fear is the Halloween candy.

An article posted on Harvard’s blog page highlighted a study they conducted, and it showed that those who consumed larger amounts (25% or more of daily Calories) of added sugar were twice as likely to die of heart disease than those who ate a lower amount of added sugar in their diet.

Sugar is also “empty” Calories, meaning that foods with higher amounts of added sugar (think candy or soda) often contain very little nutrients, like vitamins and minerals.  Diets with larger amounts of Calories than your body can burn can often lead to obesity, which the American Heart Association cites as a risk factor for heart disease.

Added sugars also increase the risk for dental carries, aka cavities.  The presence of sugar gives the bacteria naturally in your mouth something to “eat,” which causes them to release acids that break down tooth enamel.  Once the tooth decays into the deeper parts of the tooth, it can be very painful.

Now, I am not saying it is bad to celebrate and to eat Halloween candy.  It is a celebration, after all.  Plus, candy does taste good.  What I am saying is to keep it in moderation.  Plus, there are better things to worry about, like the upcoming US election, climate change, grades in college classes etc. than getting heart disease later in life.

So what do you guys think?  Anyone with experience dealing with heart disease patients, or coming up with dietary plans reducing added sugar for health reasons not listed (like diabetes)?

By The Nutrition Punk

I am a dietitian living in Portland, Oregon. I write about a variety of nutrition and heath topics, with the goal of improving people's understanding of food and nutrition so they may be empowered against all the misinformation that is out there.

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