My little lady bug’s 1st birthday party was last weekend and her guests brought home bubbles, stickers, party blowouts (I actually had to Google what those things are called) and a little clementine. No candy! 😎
Full disclosure, we did have gluten free cupcakes with buttercream frosting, it was a first birthday party after all. Granted, I didn’t want to send home a bag of sugar with our guests too!
Since I’ve been teaching The RESTART® Program I am becoming laser focused on just how much sugar is everywhere. If you look around, it’s in your children’s classroom, the doctor’s office, the bank, I’ve even seen cookies at my dentist’s office, there are donuts in the kitchen at work, and the other night there was plenty of candy at the Book Fair at my son’s school…You don’t have to search very far to find a piece of candy, a cookie, cake, ice cream, pastry, etc. Plus it is hidden it just about everything including salad dressing, dips and spreads, ketchup, BBQ sauce, breads, taco shells, the list goes on.
Why am I all uppity about this? I’m glad you asked…See, in 1822 the average American consumed 2 teaspoons of sugar per day. Today, the average American consumes 33 teaspoons of sugar per day. EVERY DAY! That adds up to 150-180 pounds of sugar per year – or about the size of a skinny dude. Wowza. That’s a crap ton of sugar.
Let’s have a look-see at more sugar facts…
In 2012 29.1 MILLION Americans had Type 2 diabetes, that was 9% of the population. It’s expensive too, costing Americans $245 BILLION dollars (as reported in 2013).(4)
Excessive consumption of sugar doesn’t just lead to Type 2 diabetes. Today, 31% of American adults and 13% of kids suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).¹ According to the American College of Gastroenterology, NAFLD “is part of the metabolic syndrome characterized by diabetes, or pre-diabetes (insulin resistance), being overweight or obese, elevated blood lipids such as cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as high blood pressure.” Insulin resistance is caused by consuming excessive amounts of sugar and processed carbs. Also, you don’t have to be overweight to have NAFLD. Body builders can have a fatty liver too. Skinny doesn’t mean healthy.
According to brain scans, sugar is as addictive as cocaine.
Sugar makes us fat.
It’s true that never before in the history of mankind have we had an emergency need to lower blood sugar.
Our bodies are put under a lot of pressure to maintain homeostasis (balance) and when we consume added sugar we are constantly stressing our organs (specifically the liver, pancreas and adrenal glands) to store sugar in our cells. When we consume excessive amounts of sugar it is stored as fat and we gain weight. We also throw our hormones out of balance since we’re asking our endocrine system to lower blood sugar instead of make healthy hormones.
Alright, I think you get the idea. Sugar is bad, mkay?
I recently did a poll on my Facebook page to see what other moms do with their trick-or-treating candy hauls and they all came up with some pretty great ideas.
So here are 5 things you can do with your Halloween candy besides eating it:
1. Throw. It. Out. This is my favorite option, honestly. My kids will go trick or treating, I’m not an evil mom, they might have 1 piece of candy. Not kidding, one. And then the rest of it is getting thrown in the garbage because that’s where it belongs. You might find this wasteful, but in my mind it saves me from the whining involved in rationing candy and the meltdowns when a sugar crash hits. No thank you, sir. Buh-bye.
2. The Candy Pirate. Ok, so same idea as number 1 but not as mean. Have your kids place all of their candy in a “treasure box.” Tell them if they do so the Candy Pirate will take their candy and leave them some other cool stuff. When they go to bed, toss the candy in the garbage and add some little toys, maybe a book, little puzzles, and some fresh fruit to the treasure box. And then when they wake up in the morning, aargh! Candy Pirate success.
3. Tell them you ate it all in the morning and take a video, send it to Jimmy Kimmel. I don’t know if he still does this, but it’s worth a try. Some might find these videos hilarious (I do), some might say they are mean (of course they are), some might say WHOA! these kids are serious sugar addicts (I say that) and think that it is more disturbing than funny (I do).
4. Do some fun science experiments. This is genius. You’re still getting some use out of the candy but it doesn’t involve actually eating it. Good times.
5. See if your dentist or doctor’s office will take it as a donation. Some doctor’s offices and dentists will exchange the candy for a prize or money. I have never done this before, but I understand it is usually a candy drive to then send it to the troops.
Let me know what you decide to do with all of your trick-or-treating candy in the comments below!
- Sugar Science.org
- USDA. “Profiling Food Consumption in America.” United States Department of Agriculture. Sowers, Robert. 2010. http://www.usda.gov/factbook/chapter2.pdf.
- The Richmond Institute for Continuing Dental Education http://www.richmondinstitute.com/preventive/u-s-sugar-consumption-a-not-so-sweet-reality
- American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/?referrer=https://www.google.com/