Halloween is scary, with its zombies, skeletons, and haunted houses, but the aftermath of Halloween can be rather frightening, too. The glut of Halloween candy stockpiled from holiday parties and trick-or-treating can live on in the form of health risks. Some candies may contain nuts and dairy products that can lead to allergic reactions. And even if you’re allergy-free, the sugar high from the ongoing supply of candy can pose its own health challenges.
Though we may normally allow ourselves only occasional sugar splurges, it’s easy to justify candy and dessert binges around Halloween. Parties with office associates, family, and friends may be rife with autumn-themed sweets such as pumpkin pies and pumpkin spice-flavored coffee. These may be hard to resist. Then there’s the hazard of your kids’ trick-or-treating buckets, heavy with candy.
Bad for the Health and the Skin
All of this can catch up with us, though. Sucrose and fructose, the most common sugar forms found in Halloween sweets, pack a lot of calories with no essential nutrients. The calories may provide a temporary surge in energy, but they can lead to a “crash” in stamina later. Sweets also feed the harmful bacteria in the mouth that cause tooth decay. In addition, high levels of fructose can result in fat globules that build up in the liver. Ongoing excessive sugar consumption might contribute to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Too much sugar can result in too much insulin in the bloodstream, wreaking havoc on the circulatory system. Chronic high levels of insulin can cause tension in the artery walls, putting people at risk for cardiovascular diseases such as stroke or heart attack.
But sugar isn’t just hard on our insides. It can also affect the way we look. High insulin levels caused by excessive intake of sugar can lead to skin inflammation that produces enzymes that break down elastin and collagen in the skin. This can result in sagging skin and premature wrinkles.
The big Halloween challenge is to learn to enjoy the added sugar in moderation. Set sane limits—perhaps a thin sliver of pumpkin pie at your work party and one to two bite-size Halloween candies per day after lunch. Sugar binges may sound alluring, but you’ll feel better, have healthier skin and enjoy the holiday more if you stick with healthy quantities of sugar.