Most adults leave trick-or-treating to the kids, but that doesn't mean some of us don't use Halloween as an excuse to eat a little more candy than we typically would. While the holiday may also be about finding the perfect costume and diving into a horror movie marathon, it's hard to ignore the prevalence of candy, from special seasonal treats like Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins and candy corn to fun-sized versions of all your tried and true favorites.
While there's zero shame in indulging in candy on Halloween, it's worth considering: What does all that sugar do to your body?
Related video: What happens to your body and brain when you eat too much sugar
"Carbohydrate, or sugar, is the quickest digesting macronutrient, compared to protein and fat," Goodsen explains. "Because the body is so efficient at breaking down carbohydrates for energy, when eaten by themselves, they have the ability to cause a spike in blood sugar. This is especially true for simple carbohydrates or those that do not contain fiber. A good example of this is candy, sweet treats, sugar-sweetened beverages, et cetera. This spike in blood sugar, or 'sugar rush' is likely to give you energy for a period of time, but typically results in a blood sugar drop later."
That rush, unfortunately for those of us with a sweet tooth, gives way to a "sugar crash."
“[During a sugar crash, people] typically feel like they are in an energy slump,” she explains. "They might experience fatigue, headache, shaky hands, dizziness and for some, even feel light-headed."
This can lead to a vicious cycle. Since your blood sugar has dropped, your body may crave sweets in order to bring it back up again.
"If you eat a meal with high-fiber-carbohydrate and protein later, your blood sugar should balance back out," Goodson says. "When carbohydrate, or sugar, is paired with protein, the protein helps to slow down the digestion process and thus allows for a gradual blood sugar rise and then a gradual decline instead of a more dramatic spike and drop. So, eating a string cheese or some beef jerky with your Halloween candy could do you a world of good from a blood sugar perspective."
An easy way to keep yourself from the energy slump is to plan out when you’re going to unwrap that candy bar.
"If you enjoy a piece or two of candy after a balanced lunch or dinner that contains fiber and protein, you are less likely to experience a blood sugar crash and drop," says Goodman.
Of course, there's zero shame in indulging in some sweets, especially during a festive time. However, if you to be able to stay awake long enough to finish all of Hocus Pocus, you may want to be mindful of when and how you're enjoying those fun-sized candy bars.
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