It’s Halloween season, and it's all about candy.
According to Fortune.com, US kids will eat three full cups of sugar, or approximately 7,000 calories, of candy on Halloween alone. To put this in context, this is equivalent to consuming 170 standard sized sugar cubes in one evening. Let's not forget the bags of leftover candy that kids will be consuming in the days and weeks to follow once the trick-or-treating is over.
Unfortunately, kids (and many adults) aren’t the only ones who will be feasting on candy. Sugar-loving bacteria will also be having a party in each of our mouths.
While many throw caution to the wind with the number of calories involved in a single night of unbridled candy consumption, what I see at Willow Pass Dental Care is a coming wave of cavity cases over the next several months.
As we all know, sugar and bacteria form a potent combo. Bacteria thrive on sugar. They feed on it, and when exposed to the highly refined sugars found in candy, they can proliferate rapidly.
Bacteria, sugar, and children’s teeth simply don’t mix.
However, for discerning parents and oral health-conscious families, there is plenty of equally delicious tasty candy that you can give your kids for Halloween and throughout the year.
As society becomes more conscious of the food we put in our bodies, the market takes notice, and as consumers, we get the benefit of new ideas.
A good example is a 13-year-old teenager named Alina Morse who asked her father the "million dollar" question: "Why can't we make a healthy lollipop that's good for my teeth so that I can have candy, and it wouldn't be bad for me?"
Well, it didn't take long for Alina to tackle the project for herself. After two years of researching and talking with her dental hygienist and dentist, Alina began creating and testing products.
So let me share with you what I consider the 5 best tasting and healthy candies in the marketplace. I'll start with two products from ZolliPops.
My 5 Best Healthy & Tasty Candies for 2019
Zolli Pops are sugar-free, non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, organic, kosher and mom approved!
Each pack comes in a convenient re-sealable pouch. Known as The After You Eat Treat, enjoy one after every meal, up to three per day, for a cleaner, healthier smile. It's the smart, yummy treat for your teeth.
Zaffi Taffy also a product produced by Zolli Pops is a delicious, natural way to cleaner teeth and a healthy smile. Supercharged with Xylitol and Erythritol, this sugar-free taffy candy is a good-for-you treat that helps keep your teeth fresh and healthy.
Check out their website. Very fun and creative. Their motto is "Kick Sugar Keep Halloween."
They see themselves on a crusade with #KICKSUGAR MOVEMENT.
Here's how they describe their candy:
"We love candy too. But we don't love all the sugar, weird artificial colors, and high calories in traditional sweets.
Our pinky swear to you is no added sugar, no sugar alcohols and no artificial sweeteners.
You deserve to feel GOOD about candy."
It's all about the story and like Smart Sweets, Get Unreal has a good story and a fun website.
Here's how the two founders (Nicky, 21 years old and Kris, 24 years old) tell their story:
Once upon a time, there were two kids whose parents really didn't want them eating their favorite chocolates.
Not much of a story there, but it made these brothers dream: could they remake their favorites without the bad stuff?
A thousand recipes later (for real), they cracked the code to make some of the best tasting chocolate snacks ever.
We aren’t kids anymore. But we’re still inspired by our unreal dream. Good is back, and it’s just warming up.
The product name is cool, the company who produces it is called No Whey! Foods. They have several other all natural, allergy free, vegan candy such as PeaNOT Cups, Choco No No's, Milkless Polar Dream White, Fear Not, and Peppermint No No's.
Tasting Milkless and Fear Not will stop your cravings for Reeses, Snickers, Milky Ways, and Hershey Chocolate bars right in their tracks. These products are creamy, silky, and completely milk-free, nut-free, gluten-free, and wheat-free -- but taste just like the "real" deal.
9 Sweets You Can Enjoy When Done Responsibly
When it comes to dental health, sugar is the enemy. Therefore, sugar-free candy is one good solution that every parent should consider.
There are a variety of sugar substitutes and artificial sweeteners, and they aren’t all created equal. In general, you’ll want to avoid sweeteners with a checkered history like saccharin, sucralose, and aspartame. While these three remain FDA-approved, they have come under scrutiny for being linked from everything from cancer to attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Instead, when looking for sugar-free sweets and treats, look for products sweetened with so-called alcohol sugars such as erythritol, or xylitol. Or, better yet, buy candy made with stevia, a natural sugar substitute extracted from plants.
Sugar-free gums are a super healthy alternative to conventional candies. Not only do they come in a variety of delicious flavors, but they also contain no sugar, little to no calories, and help maintain good oral health.
Chocolate isn’t the best option for your teeth. But sometimes chocolate just can’t be avoided. When given a choice, opt for dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains significantly less sugar than conventional milk chocolate candies and, as a bonus, also contain more antioxidants and fiber.
For an even healthier alternative, try getting nuts or dried fruits dipped in dark chocolate. Not only does this reduce the amount of chocolate, but it also provides a nutritious punch you won’t get from Jolly Ranchers or Tootsie Rolls.
Fresh fruits are a good choice. When possible, opt to satisfy your family’s sweet tooth with fresh fruit packed with vitamins and minerals.
Dried fruits are not the best solution but is better than artificially flavored and colored candies full of preservatives and food dyes.
Like dried fruits, chocolate-dipped fruits can be a choice for those who just crave and must have chocolate. A strawberry dipped in chocolate will satisfy any adult and any child’s sweet tooth and can satisfy that sweet tooth if done in moderation.
Nuts dipped in chocolate can be a delicious and relatively healthy alternative to regular chocolate candy.
Kids love gummy bears. So why not give them gummy bears containing vitamins and minerals?
One word of caution: while it is highly unlikely to overdose on vitamin candy (the upper limit is 2,000mg per day), you should still monitor the number of vitamin gummies your kids consume. Side effects of consuming too many vitamin gummies may include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, cramps, headache, and insomnia.
While rainbow-colored candy may be visually appealing and great fun, that color explosion doesn’t come naturally.
Of the many food dyes that have been invented over the past century or so, only eight food dyes have been deemed safe to ingest - Blue #1, Blue #2, Citrus Red #2, Green #3, Red #3, Red #40, Yellow #5, and Yellow #6.
Even FDA-approved food dyes listed above have come under fire.
Red #40 and Yellow #5, for instance, have been inconclusively linked to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and cancer.
To make matters worse, petroleum-based dyes can accumulate in the body over time compounding their negative effects over time. As one would imagine, bioaccumulation of these dyes occurs at a higher rate within the bodies of small children.
I’d recommend that discerning parents do their best to help their kids avoid oversaturated candies loaded with artificial dyes.
Teach Your Kids How to Enjoy Candy Responsibly
Ultimately, kids will be kids and, and as long as there is Halloween, kids will eat candy.
While healthy alternatives are always a good idea, the best thing a parent can do for their children is to teach them to enjoy candy responsibly and know when to stop.
Willow Pass Dental Care is the #1 Dentist in Concord, California. Whether you live in Concord or located in nearby locations like Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Mococo, Pittsburg, and Antioch, we want to serve you and your family.
DR. REZA KHAZAIE