Boo! Halloween is just around the corner. If ghosts and goblins don't scare you, consider what is in your kids' treat bags. There are some pretty frightening things lurking among the colorful wrappers and packaging. Here are just a few to consider.
Top 5 scariest things about Halloween candy:
1. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) or “Corn Sugar”. Parents are wising up to the dangers of HFCS, so the Corn Refiners Association is working hard to rename HFCS “corn sugar” as it sounds a whole lot less scary that way. Don’t be fooled. HFCS is everywhere and has been linked to obesity, rising rates of type-2 diabetes, and hypertension. Not to mention that high levels of mercury have been detected in HFCS as well!
2. TBHQ. Thanks to Out of the Box Food for bringing this one to our attention at this week’s #holisticmoms Twitter Party! TBHQ, or tertiary butylhydroquinone, is a form of butane that is added as a preservative to a variety of foods, including popular Halloween candies Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Nestle Crunch.
3. Artificial Colors and Flavorings. Unless you’re a carrot or a sweet potato, chances are bright Halloween orange is not your natural color. From candy corns to marshmallow pumpkins, artificial colorings such as Blues 1 and 2, Red 3, Green 3 and Yellow no. 5 are ever-present and have been banned in many countries because of their link to cancer. (Yellow 5 is currently under review and many artificial yellows and oranges have been banned already.)
4. Hydrogenated Fats. Think you’re doing better handing out chips and crackers instead of sweets this year? You may have to think again. Hydrogenated fats in many products, including chips, crackers, and chocolate, have long been recognized as dangerous for their link to heart disease. More recent research also links these trans fats to rising cancer rates throughout the US.
5. Refined Sugar. Americans consume an average of 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, and considerably more during our spooky and scary Halloween season! What's wrong with a little sugar? It not only ruins your teeth, but strips your body of vital nutrients and can damage your immune system. And, of course, we all know what too much sugar does to our children’s moods and behaviors!
Want to see the worst Halloween candy offenders? Check out this list from the Daily Beast. Looking for ways to have a healthier, more holistic Halloween? Try some of our Green Mama Tips!