Halloween is one of the most celebrated holidays in the United States. A significant amount of this celebrating involves the consumption of candy. In fact, nearly 600 million pounds of candy is purchased just for this sugary holiday. Even more impressive than the amount of candy purchased is the amount eaten. Roughly 4% of all candy in the U.S. is eaten on Halloween itself meaning that on average each person eats about 1.2 pounds of candy on this single spook-filled day. This heavy consumption of candy may cause some to shiver in fear for their waist lines but for others, particularly those with Type 2 diabetes, Halloween can be truly terrifying.
Diabetes on the whole involves excess sugar found within the bloodstream resulting in various issues such as extreme fatigue, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, and inhibit health. Almost 90% of all diabetes cases fall into the category of Type 2 diabetes. The primary issue associated with Type 2 is insulin resistance. As the body becomes increasingly resistant to insulin the pancreas has greater difficulty keeping production of insulin high enough to appropriately regulate blood sugar. Because insulin is a critical element in blood sugar regulation, reduced effect and production of insulin results in dangerous blood sugar fluctuations. Those with undiagnosed or untreated Type 2 diabetes are doomed to experience blood sugar levels that are wildly unregulated resulting in widespread dysfunction.
A significant portion of a diabetic’s life involves maintaining a healthy diet, remaining physically active, and carefully monitoring glucose levels and sugar intake. Because candy consumption is central to Halloween celebrations, those with diabetes can have a difficult time joining the festivities. However, there are methods to join in the fun while still protecting one’s health.
Tips to Avoid Being Tricked while Enjoying Treats
Many diabetics are aware that Halloween is a dangerous time for them and may abstain from celebrating it entirely. However, it takes an impressive constitution to completely avoid Halloween candy. Thankfully, there are safe ways to enjoy treats without suffering a sugary trick. The following tips can help diabetics navigate through Halloween while still taking part in the festivities.
Count the Carbs
Like any diet plan, there is room to enjoy almost any food as long as the appropriate steps are taken. For those with diabetes, eating candy is possible providing they monitor their intake of carbohydrates. Consuming too many carbs throughout the day or too close together can cause dangerous blood sugar spikes.
Choosing lower carb options over larger, more carbohydrate dense sweets allows one to get more enjoyment out of their dietary restrictions. For example, a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup has fewer carbs than a Kit Kat bar, making it a more viable choice. Knowing one’s dietary restrictions and carbohydrate limits allows one to plan their indulgences appropriately to eat the most of what they enjoy.
Find the Fiber
Although rarer, some candies contain fiber and protein, which inhibits sudden release of sugar into the bloodstream after eating sweets. Opting for more fiber-full candy will help temper the impact of the carbs and sugars that come along with it. Chocolate covered nuts, Snickers Bars, Mounds, and Peanut M&M’s are some common Halloween handouts that offer more fiber or protein than most of their candy counterparts.
Make a Plan and Follow It
Many are familiar with the following scenario: a person chooses to sit down with a fresh bag of their favorite snack, takes just a few bites and then realizes the entire bag is gone. This disappearing act happens frequently when one is not actively keeping track of their intake. One of the biggest mistakes one can make during Halloween is neglecting to track the treats they eat. Those with Type 2 diabetes must be particularly careful and make certain they have established clear rules for their sugary snacking. Furthermore, it is important for one to be vigilant in recording their carbohydrate intake. By creating a limit or outline and sticking to it, one can successfully avoid overindulging in Halloween treats and glucose spikes.
Keep the Best and Get Rid of The Rest
There is a near endless variety of candy to be enjoyed on Halloween. However, everyone has his or her favorites that provide the most enjoyment and satisfaction. Rather than consume unnecessary sweets that don’t live up to one’s top tasty treat, it is better to simply avoid them. By getting rid of all candy that one doesn’t consider to be the best, they can significantly limit their carbohydrate intake and save their indulgences for only the best tasting and satisfying candies.
One’s first inclination may be to simply throw out their unwanted sweets. Rather than handing off excess ghoulish delights to be gobbled by the garbage, consider donating it. The Halloween Candy Buy-Back program gives kids an outlet to trade their unwanted candy for a variety of other items such as food coupons, cash, toothbrushes, or other non-sugary items. Additionally, any candy unwanted by adults can be sent to men and women serving overseas through the same program. Removing excess candy from one’s home or place of work makes it much easier to avoid.
Don’t Let Diabetes Scare off Halloween
Even though candy is at the center of most modern Halloween celebrations it does not mean that those with diabetes must hide from sugary spooks and specters. Those who have been living with diabetes for some time are well-acquainted with the challenges that come with this life-long condition. In addition to managing one’s diet, getting healthy physical activity, and regulating insulin and blood sugar, those with diabetes are often left out of food-focused holidays. Fortunately, by utilizing the tips above diabetics can safely take part in the many festivities and foods offered by the frightfully fun holiday that is Halloween.
For even more information, watch as Dr. Holtorf explains if your diabetes is reversible!