Are you wondering about how you should feel about the sugar rush that’s inevitable with Halloween? Should your kids be allowed to eat ALL of the candy they get? Will your kids be happy if you limit the treats they get? Are sugar and food dyes really bad? If you are like most parents, these questions may arise each year.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a maximum of 6 teaspoons or 25 grams for women and 9 teaspoons or 38 grams for men of added sugar per day.  The AHA limits for children will vary based on age and caloric needs but range between 3-6 teaspoons or 12-25 grams per day.  The World Health Organization recommends no more than 25 grams of added or natural sugar per day (equivalent to about 5% of a 2,000 calories/day diet).

Excess sugar intake can:

  • Contribute to excessive weight gain
  • Increase heart disease risk factors (weight gain, inflammation and high blood pressure)
  • Increase acne by increasing androgen production, oil secretion and inflammation
  • Increase the risk of diabetes by contributing to obesity and insulin resistance
  • Increase the risk of cancer by contributing to obesity, insulin resistance and inflammation
  • Increase the risk of depression by contributing to blood sugar swings and neurotransmitter dysregulation
  • Increase cavity risk

Are Food Dyes Bad?

Food dyes raise another concern during this holiday of treats.  Food dyes are synthetic colors added to foods that adversely affect the brain and have been linked to hyperactivity and asthma. Many of these are banned in the UK and other countries, so let’s not wait until the evidence is overwhelming and your kids are sick.  Certain synthetic dyes with the preservative ‘sodium benzoate’ increased hyperactivity in kids ages 3-9.  Some of the more common food dyes on your labels to avoid are red #40, yellow #5 and #6, and blue #1.

Let’s Make a Swap

Here are some suggestions on “replacement” and “trades” to have available this Halloween! Be ready to trade the not-so-good candies with the healthier options. These candies are some of our favorites and they can be found at Sprout’s, Whole Foods, Target, Kroger and now on Amazon! We hope you all have a Healthy and Happy Halloween!

Unreal CandyFair Trade Certified ingredients, Non-GMO Project Verified. Show your kids this Ted talk about this young man with a vision to change the world!

Yum EarthNon-GMO Project Verified, Gluten Free, Dairy-free, Nut-free. Flavored and colored with REAL fruit juice.

OCHO: Certified organic, Non-GMO Certified

Justin’sUSDA Organic, Gluten-Free, Rainforest Alliance Certified

Enjoy Life: Gluten, Wheat, Dairy, Soy, Nut, Egg, Sulfite free!

Karen Davis Warren, Founder of One on One Physical Therapy and mother, brings a wealth of knowledge to her patients incorporating over 25 years of physical therapy and sports medicine experience and education. She is passionate about keeping her kids and yours healthy and happy.  To contact Karen, email her at and more information can be found at