Halloween is the spookiest time of year, and it’s just around the corner. But forget the scary movies and things that go bump in the night. We think the spookiest thing is all the sneaky sugars hiding out in our kids’ trick-or-treating baskets!
Here’s what you need to know about sugar, along with sneaky sugars to look out for this Halloween.Sneaky Sugars To Watch Out For
By this point, most of us are aware of the dangers of a diet too high in sugar and processed foods (which is why refined sugar tops our list of the 5 ingredients to watch out for in your kid’s food).
But you may not know that not all sugars are created equal. Some are naturally occurring, while others are artificially made. Some are highly processed, others minimally. So, while they may look the same on your food label, the way your body metabolizes them couldn’t be more different.
Your body metabolizes most naturally occurring sugars relatively the same. So, whether you’re eating honey, unrefined cane sugar, or grape juice, your body is processing it in much the same way. It might have some added vitamins or minerals, but as an energy source, a natural sugar is a natural sugar.
Natural sources of sugar (like fruits and veggies) are digested slower and help you feel fuller, longer. They also help keep your metabolism stable.
Refined sugar, or sucrose, on the other hand, comes from sugar cane or sugar beets, which are processed to extract the sugar. Food manufacturers then add this chemically-produced sugar, typically high-fructose corn syrup, into many packaged foods.
The body breaks down refined sugar rapidly, which causes insulin and blood sugar levels to skyrocket. And since it’s digested so quickly, you don’t feel full after you’re done eating, regardless of how much you eat.
The tricky thing about refined sugar is that it has a way of showing up in all sorts of food products - not just sweet ones! This makes it all the more important to read food labels and check ingredients. And of course, that’s especially true when your kids come home laden with Halloween goodies.
And talk about sneaky. Food manufacturers will use lots of words to describe what is ultimately processed sugar. So, watch out for alternative words for sugar, which include:
- Corn Syrup
- Cane Sugar
- Cane Syrup
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Rice Syrup
- Barley Malt
- Invert Syrup
Find a complete list with 56 names for sugar here.Alternatives To Added Sugar This Halloween
OK, OK, we know that sugar isn’t great for our children. But neither is depriving them of fun treats now and then, especially on holidays like Halloween. Food is supposed to be joyful! And we believe in giving children food that makes them jump for joy.
The reality is that you don’t need added refined sugars to make a tasty treat for children (see 3 easy ways to reduce artificial sugar for your kids here). That’s why we offer clean-label Organic SuperFruit Freezies which are made with 100% fruit juice and puree. In other words, no added sugars (and no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, either!).
Pro tip: freezies make a fun and unexpected treat to give out at Halloween! There are lots of other great treat options that keep the added sugars down, like Halloween Chocolate Minis from Enjoy Life Foods, Chocolate Banana Granola Minis from MadeGood Foods, and these individually-wrapped fruit snacks from Annie’s.
We promise - it is possible to greatly reduce sugar while still having a fun (and sweet!) Halloween. Just watch out for those spooky sugars, and you’ll be good to go.