The Spooky Things Hiding in Your Halloween Candy 👀
Dear Kosterina Family,
My husband and I just took our 3 young children to Disney World for the first time and the experience was every bit as magical as they say. Since we were there in late October, we got to go trick-or-treating all around the Magic Kingdom theme park, where our kids received hefty scoops of Mars Halloween candy at every stop. As I went through the candy I noticed about half the bag was filled with Skittles and Starburst and I immediately remembered a couple of things:
Firstly, I recalled hearing a podcast where an author for CGM company, Levels, was interviewed. Dr. Casey Means was asked about the absolute worst food from their 50+ million glucose data points (i.e. what food generates the worst blood glucose spikes). Her answer? Skittles.
Separately, Skittles (and Starburst) were actually banned in Europe last year because of harmful ingredients. In 2022, the EU banned the use of titanium dioxide due to the potential for genotoxicity – the ability for a chemical to alter DNA, which may lead to cancer. Yikes.
What’s even more infuriating is these candy companies have found ways to reformulate their candy with healthier ingredients for the European markets but continue to sell the original recipes here in the U.S. According to this Washington Post article “Titanium dioxide is found in the U.S. recipe for Skittles, but [it is not found] in bags of the sweets sold or consumed in Europe, since it was banned by the E.U. last year. It is also found in Nerds candy.”
Skittles, Pop-Tarts and even Gatorade are also banned in the European Union because they contain dyes like yellow 5, yellow 6 and red 40. The EU banned these artificial colors after their scientific research indicated they could be harmful to health, especially to young children. Yikes again.
I’m all for the Halloween festivities and the sweet indulgences that come with it. But we’re also here with you on our mission to help you live longer, more delicious lives so it’s probably worth paying a little extra attention to what ends up in those orange jack ‘o lantern baskets this year. Keep your eyes peeled for harmful food additives, artificial colors, food dyes, trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. I follow Vani Hari, also known as @thefoodbabe on Instagram. You’ll find posts like this one that offer up healthy Halloween candy swap ideas. Hari also released her fourth book called Food Babe Family – all focused on ways to teach our children about eating real food.
So how can we be more mindful of our eating habits while also enjoying ourselves? We’ll offer up one suggestion – set the candy aside and indulge in some homemade baked goods. When baking at home you’ll have more control over your ingredient lists and you can use gluten-free flours, organic dairy and healthier sweetener options like honey, dates, agape and maple syrup. Plus, you can even bake with Extra Virgin Olive Oil to add even greater flavor and healthy goodness to your indulgences.
Peace, Love, and EVOO,
Katina & The Kosterina Team