A Sugarless Halloween


Happy October, friends. Halloween is just a day away and I want to share some ideas for how you can participate in traditional trick or treating without passing out or eating candy. Choosing to avoid candy doesn’t mean you have to skip Halloween. In fact, you can have just as much fun dressing up with your friends and family, welcoming kids in costume, or walking around the neighborhood as you would if you were passing out or consuming the sugary treats.

In the The Metabolic Approach to Cancer, I highlight sugar as an addiction in the United States. An addiction that is bigger than opiates, amphetamines, alcohol, heroin, and nicotine all combined. I want to share this excerpt from chapter four, “Sugar, Cancer, and the Ketogenic Diet,” to provide some insight to how sugar addiction has become an epidemic.

“The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that U.S. consumption of the most common sugar, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), increased 1,000 percent between 1970 and 1990. Soda consumption has more than doubled since 1970 and consider this: one 20-ounce soda can contain 65 grams of sugar – more than five times the amount a child should have in a day According to the USDA Economic Research Service, the average child under age twelve consumes 49 pounds of sugar per year.  Quick math shows there are 875 grams of sugar in 1 pound; meaning kids are eating 42,875 grams of sugar a year. That’s an average of 117 grams a day. (One teaspoon of sugar equals four grams). In her excellent Ted Talk “Debunking the Paleo Diet,” archeological scientist Dr. Christina Warinner notes that in order to get the same amount of sugar contained in a 34-ounce soda, our Paleo ancestors would have to eat around 8 and a half feet of sugarcane. Today we eat three times that in a single day—24 feet of sugarcane. American kids eat more sugar in one day than our ancestors could eat in two years, and cancer cells like that.”

I’ve complied a chart of the nutritional facts for some of the most popular candy that fills the bags of trick-or-treaters. This information was taken directly from the manufacturer’s websites (with the exception of skittles which was taken off of the label).



Artificial Flavors

Butterfinger, full size

Candy Corn, 1 oz.110220not providedyesyesyesyes
Jolly Rancher23.33.605.6yesyesyesyes
Kit Kat, snack size7072.39noyesnoyes
M&M’s, fun size13017519yesyesyesyes
Milky Way, fun size8010.5312yesyesnoyes
Reese’s PB Pumpkin858.51.759.5noyesnoyes
Skittles, 1.4 oz160301.537yesyesyesyes
Snickers, fun size8093.511yesyesnoyes
Tootsie Roll608.51.2511.5yesyesnoyes
Twix Caramel Cookie Bar, fun size808411yesyesnoyes
3 Musketeers, fun size63.310211.3yesyesnoyes

The American Heart Association recommends children ages 2-18 should have no more than 6 teaspoons, or 25 grams, of sugar per day (“How Much Sugar Is Too Much”). That is an average of three fun size candy bars from the list above and less than one fun size bag of skittles. The amount of sugar consumed by the average child on and around Halloween is exponentially higher than this and can be the beginning of many health issues.

If you choose to allow your children to eat candy to celebrate Halloween, I encourage you to help them understand the importance of setting limits and monitor their consumption. It can be a great opportunity to teach your children about the affects artificial sugar can have on their health and why it’s important to limit and even avoid it.

If you would like to avoid candy at all costs, below are some suggestions you can either pass out to trick-or-treaters or give to your own children as trades for their candy once they return from trick-or-treating. Most of these, or similar items, can be found at local stores, so it’s easy to pass by the candy aisle and buy these instead. 

I hope you have a wonderful evening of dressing up in costume and admiring the spooky decorations everyone works so hard to display, all while thriving in your health. Happy Halloween! 

“How Much Sugar Is Too Much?” Www.heart.org, American Heart Association, https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sugar/how-much-sugar-is-too-much.