4 of the Worst Halloween Candies for Diabetes

Avoid These Types of Candy

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I hate to spoil all of the Halloween fun, but people always ask me what they "can and cannot" eat during Halloween season. Although when it comes to diabetes, there are no "forbidden foods," candy is a food you want to avoid on most occasions. Candy, especially pure sugary candies, can spike blood sugars very rapidly. In fact, these types of candy, such as hard candy, are recommended to increase blood sugar fast when someone is experiencing a low blood sugar. Because the main ingredient in these types of candy is sugar, the body metabolizes it quickly and can raise blood sugar within a few minutes. Therefore, when the sugar is normal or high these types of foods can cause hyperglycemia. If you want to indulge in a piece of candy, you may want to grab a small piece of dark chocolate or chocolate with nuts - these types of candy contain some fat and protein and will raise sugars slower than pure sugar alternatives. But, if possible, avoid these types...

Gummies and Jellies

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Although gummy and jelly candies are fat free foods, they contain a ton of carbohydrates and sugar in a small portion. These types of candies are things like: jelly beans, sour candies, Swedish fish, gummy bears, etc. One serving of these types of candy (depending on the size, ~ 20 pieces) contains about: 140 calories, 36 g of carbohydrate and 29 g sugar. In comparison to regular table sugar, 29 g of sugar yields about 7.5 teaspoons of sugar and 36 g of carbohydrate is more carbohydrates than two slices of bread. If you buy the sugar free option you may save on sugar but you will still get some carbohydrates. It's important to know that sugar free does not meal carbohydrate free. 



Calorie Count. Accessed online. October 9, 2014: http//:www.caloriecount.about.com

Candy Corn and Pumpkins

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Surely a Halloween tradition - candy corn and pumpkins are made of sugar, corn syrup, confectioner's glaze, salt, artificial coloring and other forms of sweetener such as honey and dextrose. Perhaps you know all of this already and decide to eat them anyway because they only come around once per year. Eat wisely and take note of the nutrition content: 19 pieces contain about: 140 calories, 36 g carbohydrate and 30 g of sugar. Don't be deceived by labels that read "made with real honey." While honey is a more natural sweetener - when it comes to diabetes it still counts as sugar. 


Calorie Count. Accessed online. October 9, 2014: http//:www.caloriecount.about.com


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While some studies have found that treating rats with licorice extract may have potential therapeutic effect for diabetes due to its antioxidant and potential glucose lowering properties, licorice extract is not the same as licorice candy. First off, it's important to note that Twizzlers are not licorice. Twizzlers are made of corn syrup, enriched wheat flour, sugar, corn starch and other artificial colors and ingredients. Licorice candy may contain some licorice root, but it also contains other ingredients and sweeteners, such as molasses, corn sugar, oils, and other starches. Typically a serving of licorice (4-5 pieces) contains about: 140 calories, 33 g carbohydrate and 16 g sugar. 

(*Please not that you should not start supplementing with licorice extract without speaking to your health care provider. The use of licorice extract can have interactions with certain medications.)


Calorie Count. Accessed online. October 9, 2014: http//:www.caloriecount.about.com

The Hershey Company. Twizzlers. Accessed on-line: http://www.thehersheycompany.com/brands/twizzlers-twists/strawberry.aspx

Kataya et. al. Drug Chem Tox. Effect of licorice extract on the complications of diabetes nephropathy in rats. Accessed on-line. October 11, 2014: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21314459

Rock Candy and Company (aka - Sugar Balls)

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Rock candy, Nerds...it's unclear what category these candies belong too, but being that they mainly consist of sugar in different ball-like shapes, I will refer to them as "sugar balls."  1 small fun size container contains: 35 calories, 9 g carbohydrate and 9 g of sugar. 1 1/2 of these small packets can give enough sugar and carbohydrates to help elevate a low blood sugar quickly and safely. Otherwise, these candies should be avoided or used as fun decorations.


Calorie Count. Accessed online. October 9, 2014: http//:www.caloriecount.about.com

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