Halloween is on its way and we can all get a little carried away, on overindulging on our favourite little mini treats, not just the kids. Those little snack size treats seem so harmless but they can have some serious negative effects if too much too fast.
The guidelines for sugar intake are surprisingly similar for children and adults, at around no more than 25g per day. This varies of course somewhat for the size of a person or how active they are, on how their bodies process sugar – it can be more sensitive for some than others, fit or not. But this is a good guideline to go by. The effects of taking in too much sugar in a short time are as follows:
- Blood sugar spike that can lead to nausea
- Increased thirst
- Brain Fog
- Digestive issues (bloating or cramps)
- Overeating as when blood sugar crashes your body sends a signal for more to replenish
Data has shown that the average kid at Halloween can scarf down the equivalent of 3 cups of sugar or 220 sugar packets. It’s hard to gauge because most of the Halloween candy is “snack” size so it doesn’t seem like a lot when eating. But let’s take a look at some of the more popular “snack” size treats and their sugar content. 1 teaspoon (tsp) = 5grams of sugar
- 1 fun size Skittles = 2.25 tsp or 11.25g sugar
- 1 fun size M&M’s = 1.75 tsp or 8.75g sugar
- 1 rolls of SweeTarts = 1.25 tsp or 6.25g sugar
- 1 mini butterfingers = .83 tsp or 4.2g sugar
- 1 mini-Reese’s peanut butter cups = .92 tsp or 4.6g sugar
- 1 Twix minis = 1 tsp or 5g sugar
- 1 Hershey’s milk chocolate = .75 tsp or 3.75g sugar
- 1 Kit Kat minis = .88 tsp or 4.4g sugar
- 1 Starburst individually wrapped = .54tsp or 2.71g sugar
You can see how fast the sugar can ramp up. 2 fun size Skittles plus a mini-Twix come in at 27.5g sugar, already exceeding the limit of 25g per day. Luckily younger kids and parents have to at least walk a bit to burn off some of the candy to come. 4 calories = 1 gram of sugar so to burn off the 27.5g of sugar, you would have to burn, 27.5 x 4 = 110 calories. But unfortunately, its not that easy as there are other calories present as, fat which takes 9 calories to burn 1 gram of fat, and protein and other carbohydrates present are same as sugar at 4 calories per 1 gram.
To give a little insight here are some different exercises and amount of time it would take to burn off the calories from some of these favourite Halloween treats:
- 3 Starburst = climbing 10 flights of stairs
- 1 fun size Skittles = 100 push-ups
- 1 mini-Kit Kat = 10 minutes on the elliptical
Your casual walk through the neighbourhood trick or treating may allow you to burn up to 275 calories at best.
We all know that some indulgence is going to happen and that’s okay once in awhile but just take note of the side effects that can happen as indicated above. There are a few things you can do to help. First make sure to have a balanced dinner before heading out, focusing on protein and fiber intake. These macronutrients will help slow the sugar spike to minimize some of those negative effects. Drink water, this will help fill the belly to not take in as much candy. Moderation – try to space out candy intake. Exercise to burn off those extra calories taken in.
Happy Halloween and Stay Safe!
Mikkie Nettles-Pollon, Certified Personal Trainer
/Holistic & Sports Nutritionist
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