The Scary Truth about Halloween Candy
Which do you think has the most chemicals in it – your local hardware store or your child’s bag of Halloween candy?
The answer may surprise you!
“Most Halloween candy is full of artificial dyes that are made from petroleum.” said Jane Hersey, National Director of the nonprofit Feingold Association, (http:// www.feingold.org/) which helps special needs children.
Studies from the United States, England, and Australia have linked these additives with hyperactivity, impulsivity, inattention, and other behavioral problems in children.
“That’s why many teachers and parents consider the day after Halloween to be the worst day of the year,” said Hersey, a former teacher and Head Start consultant. “I call this phenomenon ‘Halloween Hangover.’”
A recent study from the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine suggested that the dramatic rise in the number of children with ADHD may be due to increased consumption of these additives, as well as environmental factors.
According to this study, the number of children diagnosed with ADHD increased from 150,000 children in 1970 to 4.5 million in 2003. Meanwhile, domestic production of food dyes quadrupled between 1955 and 1998.
Hersey hopes that the United States government will eventually ban synthetic food dyes or at least require foods containing them to carry warning labels about their harmful effects on children’s behavior, as is now done in the European Union.
Protect Your Kids From Creepy Chemicals
One of the best ways to help your children avoid these additives is to feed them well before they start trick-or-treating, as this will discourage them from snacking en route, said Hersey.
Once home, you might want to trade natural treats for the candies they’ve collected. A wide range of natural candies, as well as many other brand-name foods that are free of the unwanted additives, can be found in the Feingold Association’s Foodlist & Shopping Guide.
As an alternative, you could “buy” the candy that your children collect, so they can still enjoy trick-or-treating, but skip the harmful side effects of the dyes.
Many children would enjoy a Halloween party featuring natural treats. “Halloween does not have to be a horror,” said Hersey. “If you follow these suggestions, it can be safe and fun for the entire family.”
Related: Avoid the Halloween Candy Blues
This post originally appeared on our September/October 2010 Magazine
The Feingold Association Since 1976 the nonprofit Feingold Association http://www.feingold.org, (800-321-3287) has helped parents of special needs children use the Feingold Diet, which eliminates synthetic food dyes, artificial flavorings, and certain preservatives. This diet was developed by pediatrician/allergist Dr. Ben Feingold. Membership benefits also include a handbook on the Feingold Diet, a Foodlist & Shopping Guide, a Fast Food & Restaurant Guide, a Mail Order Guide, phone and e-mail help-lines, an online chat room, and a message board.
Individual dietary needs vary and no one diet will meet everyone’s daily requirements. Before starting any new diet, check with your doctor