MONSTERS AND GHOSTS AND SUGAR, OH MY! Wait… sugar? That’s right. The scariest thing you’ll encounter this Halloween may just be sweets.
Here are some hair-raising statistics about Halloween candy consumption:
- Americans purchase around 600 million pounds–or 2 billion dollars worth–of candy each year for Halloween.
- Kids consume up to 7,000 calories on Halloween and the average trick-or-treater intakes about three cups of sugar.
- The average child would need to trick-or-treat for over 100 miles to burn off what they eat during Halloween.
These statistics may be a bit shocking but what is perhaps even more frightening is how much sugar the average American consumes on a daily basis, not just around October 31st.
According to a study done by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, sugar makes up 16 percent of the average American child’s daily caloric intake. The American Dental Association recommends that added sugar should make up no more than 10 percent of total energy intake and ideally less than five percent.
More Sugar, More Cavities
It’s no secret that sugar in excess can be harmful to your health. High sugar consumption has been linked to obesity, diabetes, and poor heart health. We also know it can be especially damaging to teeth and gums.
When we eat foods that contain sugar, we are not the only ones enjoying the meal–so are the harmful bacteria in our mouths. As a result, these bacteria produce acids that eat away at our teeth and cause tooth decay, or in other words, cavities.
Watch Out For Added Sugars And Try To Cut Back
Almost all foods have some type of sugar in them. Naturally occurring sugars–like those found in milk, and fresh fruit and vegetables–are less worrisome, since these choices are healthy overall. What you want to keep an eye out for are added sugars.
Here’s how we recommend you lower your daily sugar intake:
Read food labels.
Many times we don’t realize just how much sugar we are consuming. You may think you’re making a healthy choice for your child with dried or canned fruit, granola bars, or even yogurt. But many of these food items have a surprisingly high amount of sugar.
Think about your drink.
Did you know that one can of soda is equivalent to three times the daily recommended sugar intake for a child? Even seemingly healthy beverages such as fruit juices contain far too much sugar. The best options for beverages are water and milk. In some areas of Tennessee, children drink more sodas than they do water on average. Sun Drop and Mountain Dew are at epidemic levels in rural youth in our state.
Cook at home.
By cooking at home you can know exactly what is going into your child’s meals and snacks. You’d be surprised by how much-hidden sugar there is in fast food!
Trick Or Treat?
Don’t let Halloween trick you into thinking it’s the only time of year you need to think about your treats! The amount of sugar we consume in October is scary, but our daily sugar intake needs our attention too. Let this Halloween mark the start of your family’s journey to cut back on sugar!