Halloween

Step Away From That Candy!

While it comes as no surprise to most medical professionals, a lot of parents are not aware of the many toxins that can be found in traditional Halloween treats. This month, Autism File explains why these adored conventional candies are a BIG no-no, especially for children on the spectrum.

Don't get me wrong, I love chocolate, especially when it is accompanied by nuts...throw it on top of a scoop of vanilla ice cream and, I'm in heaven.  But, I digress... As a doctor who specializes in treating children on the spectrum and others with various mitochondrial disorders and metobolic issues, it is my duty to spread the word that so "many of the ingredients found in these sweets have been linked to health problems, such as tumors, attention deficits, hyperactivity, behavior and neurological problems.  

The most harmful ingredients we come across are GMO's (genetically modified organisms), including high fructose corn syrup, corn starch and other sugar variants.  Another common culprit? Dyes and artificial coloring.  According to the Center of Science in Public Interest, Citrus Red 2, Red 3, Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, Blue 2 and Green 3 are toxic to the nervous system.

"A child with a hyperactive nervous system needs to avoid foods wit toxic dyes at all costs.  These dyes are neurotoxins that will only impede the nervous system's ability to regulate appropriately."  
The Lancet (2007)

Number 1 on the hit list?  Hydrogenated oils.  Found in almost all processed, fast and conventional man-made foods, these oils are one of the biggest causes of heart disease in the US today.  This list goes on...to read the complete list and the impact these ingredients can have on our bodies, click here.  

What's a parent to do?  We don't want to be trick-or-treat, party poopers, right?  

If you feel that you must "treat" your child to something sweet, stick with REAL chocolate.  Believe it or not, real unprocessed chocolate can provide the body with incredible health benefits.  Dark chocolate containing at least 70-85% cocoa has iron, magnesium, copper and manganese, potassium, and many antioxidants that can help the body fight cancer.  The Autism File article also includes a list of websites to purchase an array of certified organic candies and toxin-free treats.  

But,  remember, if your kid consumes even a few pieces of candy corn and that evening they are hyperactive, irritable, their sleep is disturbed that night or they have gas, bloat and diarrhea,  it's what they ate that did it to them!  The real trick is that the treat is actually toxic to their systems.

Better yet, avoid treats that you have to consume and encourage your child to pass out little trinkets and toys to his fellow trick-or-treaters this year.  Glow bracelets, crayons and paintbrushes were a huge hit with my granddaughter and her neighbors last year!  And, don't forget to join the 100,000 households pledging to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project this year - this nationwide movement offers an alternative for kids with food allergies, as well as other children for whom candy is not an option, and keeps Halloween a fun, positive experience for all!