Trick or Treat: UBC Okanagan researchers’ sweet advice on Halloween candy

Researchers from the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus have some sweet advice for parents about trick or treating.

And they’re not sugar-coating the truth when it comes to consumption of all that Halloween candy.

“Sugar does not help our metabolic health and it’s not a healthy thing, so I think we need to be mindful of what we are eating,” said UBC Okanagan associate professor Jonathan Little.

Little recommends a one-night Halloween hall pass for kids and candy.

READ MORE: Fewer Canadians to hand out Halloween candy, trick or treat, poll says

“Beyond that, we need to recognize that too much sugar is not healthy for kids and is not healthy for adults, either,” Little said.

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Further, one UBCO expert is reminding the public that sugar can go by many names.

“One thing to watch out for is when candy or beverage manufacturers smuggle added sugar into food,” said Wesley Zandberg an assistant professor of chemistry at UBCO, who said to look out for the following ingredients: Dextrose, fructose, glucose, maltose and sucrose.

“It’s the same as white sugar from your table’s sugar dispenser,” said Zandberg.

‘We can have Halloween this year. It’s just going to look different’: Dr. Bonnie Henry

But what about those popular artificial sweeteners? Are they any better?

“Even though they are supposed to promote health in the context of diabetes and obesity, it does quite the opposite,” said Deanna Gibson, an associate professor of biology at UBCO.

According to Gibson, Aspartame and Stevia actually increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

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Halloween can still be celebrated safely as long as public health recommendations are followed

“The most recent data shows that it changes the gut microbiomes so that it promotes obesity,” Gibson said.

All three UBCO academics agree moderation is best when it comes to Halloween candy and sugar in general.

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