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Halloween Candy: Best and Worst

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What’s Halloween without bags of candy and what’s candy without tons of fat and sugar, wreaking havoc on our waistlines?  Although candy has little if any redeeming nutritional value, you don’t have to skip it altogether on the sweetest of sugary holidays.  The key is still moderation . . . moderation . . . and more moderation.

Here are the facts, the average American gobbles down 24 lbs of candy each year, and you can bet a big chunk of that falls within the month of October.   Consider these numbers: Three miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups fill your belly with more sugar than a glazed doughnut; half a pack of Skittles has more sugar than a scoop of Haagen-Dazs Cookies and Cream Ice Cream; nine Twizzlers carry as many calories as a Wendy’s Double Stack Burger.  That’s scary!  So unless you follow the Michael Phelps workout regimen, you’re going to suffer for your sweet tooth.  Make every swap outlined here just once and you’ll save nearly 400 calories.  Do them multiple times and  keep yourself out of the fat-man suit this Halloween.  Its best to try and avoid candy and sugary sweets all together, but for most Americans that’s not going to happen anytime soon.  If you must trick or treat I suggest offering your kids money for their candy.  For example you will pay 10 cents for every piece of candy they give you or you can offer them a certain amount for the whole bag.  The kids have money they can spend at the store for a toy and you can help keep them healthy and fit.

Source: and Eat This, Not That by David Zinczenko

5. Worst “Fun Size” Candy Bar

Butterfinger Bar (fun size bar)

100 calories
4 g fat (2 g saturated)
10 g sugars

Aren’t food marketers clever? By calling it “fun,” they’ve pulled your attention away from the fact that candy bars are  flab-inducing logs of concentrated fats and sugars. There’s nothing fun about that.

3 Musketeers (fun size bar)

63 calories
2 g fat (1.5 g saturated)
10 g sugars

4. Worst Classic Fruit Candy

Brach’s Airheads (3 pieces)

140 calories
1.5 g fat (1 g saturated)
19 g sugars

Here’s the basic formula for an Airhead: Sugar and filler carbohydrates, artificial colors and flavors, and partially hydrogenated oils—the source of trans fat.  Dum Dums might not be nutritional paragons, but they do have two noteworthy advantages over Airheads:  1. No heart-wrecking oils, and 2. They’re made from hard candy.  That means they dissolve slowly on your tongue, letting you enjoy the sweetness over time and preventing you from feverishly tearing
through Airheads.

Spangler Dum Dum Pops (3 pops)

77 calories
0 g fat
105g sugars

3. Worst Miniature Candy Bars

Twix Miniatures (3 pieces)


150 calories
8 g fat (6 g saturated)
15 g sugars

Twix has the worst saturated fat profile of any candy in your kid’s trick-or-treat bag.  Think about it like this: Each one of this bite-sized candies carries 10 percent of the saturated fat you should consume in an entire day.  Switch to Tootsie Rolls and you’ll cut your calories by more than half and trim your total fat intake by a whopping 81 percent.

Tootsie Roll (3 pieces)

70 calories
1.5 g fat (.5 g saturated)
9.5 g sugars

2. Worst Chewy Candy

Brach’s Milk Maid Caramels (4 pieces)

160 calories
4.5 g fat (3.5 g saturated)
16 g sugars

Doesn’t Milk “Maid” sound a lot like Milk “Made”? But rest assured—they’re not the same. This candy contains a couple milk derivatives (whey and “lipolyzed butter fat”), but it hardly constitutes a dairy product. Plus, 90 percent of the
fat is saturated. That’s bad news for your heart. If you enjoy the challenge of fighting chewy candy out of your teeth, switch over to Now and Laters and save more than 100 calories per serving.

Now and Later (4 pieces)

53 calories
.5 g fat (0 g saturated)
10 g sugars

1. Worst Seasonally Themed Candy

Reese’s Pumpkin

170 calories
10 g fat (3 g saturated)
16 g sugars

This one should send your gimmick radar into the red zone. If it were flavored with pumpkin puree that would be one thing, but it’s not. It’s an oversized peanut butter cup shaped in a pumpkin-like mold. And what price do you pay for such fanciful novelty? Nearly two-thirds more calories than a regular Reese’s peanut butter cup. Let’s face it—half the candy purchased at Halloween is used to create a festive atmosphere. Stick with Candy Corn and you’ll save yourself the calorie hangover.

Brach’s Candy Corn (11 pieces)

70 calories
0 g fat
14 g sugars


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