Most people don’t think of bad Halloween candy ingredients when they think of scary. Ghouls, goblins and things that go bump in the night are scary. Unfortunately, the ingredients in most conventional candies can be added to the list. These ingredients have been linked to inflammation, cancer, allergies and many other conditions that plague the nightmares of parents. With thousands of chemicals that can be in the trick or treat bag, these are the ones that we think top the list of scary ingredients.
8 Scary, Bad Halloween Candy Ingredients Found in Unhealthiest Candy Choices
- Partially Hydrogenated Oils
- Vanillin and Other Artificial Flavors
- Artificial Colors
Healthy parenting means a healthy Halloween and watching out for these bad Halloween candy ingredients. You probably never even realized you had to ask, “what’s in Halloween candy?” Don’t worry; we give you some healthy treat alternatives a little later. We make it easy to avoid the unhealthiest candy choices, but first let’s talk about the scary ingredients.
1 – Sugar
Everyone knows there’s a lot of sugar in Halloween Candy. The average trick or treater haul will have 3 cups of sugar. But how many different types of sugar are in your candy? There are a lot; like glucose syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, confectioner’s glaze, and so many others. This is not the healthy sugar you find in a piece of fruit, but processed, inflammatory sugar that makes for unhealthy candy. How many Krispy Kreme Donuts would you let your child eat? 4 or 5? Maybe 10? There is more sugar in a fun size M&M’s or a fun size serving of Starburst than a Krispy Kreme Donut. That takes the fun out of fun sized.
2 – MSG
MSG is a food additive that enhances flavor. It is widely known for causing a variety of symptoms in those sensitive to it like headaches, nausea and hives. It’s also bad for the rest of us because it overexcites the nervous system and is a very inflammatory additive. You thought MSG was just in Chinese food? Think again! MSG is found in most candies and gums which means that plastic pumpkin your child brings home overflowing with Halloween treats is also loaded with MSG.
3 – Partially Hydrogenated Oils
The food industry has been directed by the FDA to get partially hydrogenated oils out of our foods by January 1, 2020 because they have been found unsafe, but they still can be found in your child’s Halloween candy. Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils are linked to cellular congestion and inflammation. They have also been connected to cancer, neurotoxin syndrome and chronic fatigue. Airheads, Whoppers, Skittles, Starburst, and Milky Way are some Halloween favorites with this scary ingredient.
4 – Vanillin and Other Artificial Flavors
Vanillin doesn’t sound scary when you look at it in an ingredient list. Most of us could pronounce it, right? Yeah, but it’s made from wood or petrochemicals. I’ll stick with real vanilla. You don’t know what you are getting with artificial flavors because they are made synthetically in a lab. Many artificial flavors are made with petrochemicals and emulsifiers. But be careful. Natural flavors aren’t always better. If they aren’t listing the actual name of the ingredient it could be an ingredient you wouldn’t want to eat, chemically-modified or GMO. After all, wood could be considered a natural flavor.
5 – Gluten
Many bad Halloween candy options include gluten and aren’t allergy-friendly Halloween options. Bad Halloween candy choices like Kit Kat, Twizzlers, Mars Bars, and Milky Way are some that contain gluten. Here’s the thing about gluten even if you aren’t celiac: the protein in gluten is highly inflammatory and one of the first inflammatory foods we recommend patients remove from their diet right away.
6 – Dairy
Milkfat and whey are some of the names that dairy goes by in ingredients lists of many common unhealthy treats. Dairy, like gluten, is a very inflammatory food that we recommend patients remove from their diet right away. Milk was biologically made to help a baby cow grow to a 2,000-pound animal and not for humans. Dairy causes inflammation and has been linked to acne and cancer. If you are looking for a healthy Halloween treat, try real dark chocolate without the milk. We have some suggestions below.
7 – Artificial Colors
Our consumption of food dyes has increased 5x since 1955. These dyes have been linked to conditions like cancer and hyperactivity that have also increased since 1955. Did you know that a snack size bag of Skittles has 19 unhealthy ingredients with a bulk of them being artificial colors like Red 40 Lake, Titanium Dioxide, Red 40, Yellow 5 Lake, Yellow 5, Yellow 6 Lake, Yellow 6, Blue 2 Lake, Blue 1, Blue 1 Lake? But they’re gluten-free… No, thanks!
8 – Preservatives
Many of the preservatives in candy have been linked to allergies, cancer, asthma, dermatitis, and other conditions. After hearing about all the scary ingredients in Halloween candy, you might want to light all that candy on fire. You’re in luck. It might be easy to start that fire because a common ingredient in candy is the preservative, TBHQ, which is derived from butane. That’s commonly known as lighter fluid.
Healthy Treat Alternatives to Avoid Bad Halloween Candy Ingredients
Don’t make any kids cry by lighting their Halloween hauls on fire or handing out toothbrushes. There are healthy treat alternatives everyone will appreciate this Halloween. Check out our article on the Switch Witch to learn how to make a seamless swap and check out some of our healthy trick or treat alternatives below that won’t get your house egged. Some of these still have sugar but are a healthier sugar option for those looking to start somewhere.
- Unreal M&M’s and other dark chocolate treats – These GMO-free candies are made with real colors and flavors.
- Dr. John’s Suckers – These suckers are made with our favorite sugar alternative – xylitol.
- Enjoy Life Candy – They have allergy-friendly treats in snack-sized packs that are dark chocolate and free of the top allergens.
- YUMEARTH skips the corn syrup and artificial dyes. They even have a healthier candy corn and some of their products can be found at common retailers like Target.
- Torie and Howard Chewie Fruities – They are like Starburst without the corn syrup, hydrogenated oil, and artificial colors.
- Slap Bracelets – Are fun, nonfood item and non-candy items are often a real treat after all the houses with candy.
- Slime or Playdough – These are winners with all ages. I’ll trade you a milk chocolate bar for slime any day.
- Stickers- They are low cost and fun healthy treat alternative.
Avoid Bad Halloween Candy Ingredients with Healthy Treat Alternatives
Giving your kids a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you are going to ruin Halloween. You can avoid bad Halloween candy ingredients and the unhealthiest candy options. There are lots of healthy swaps and, trust us, you will find ones that work for your family. Try some of the healthy treat alternatives and check out our healthy Halloween tips to make a healthy Halloween easy.