Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween Makes Obesity Problem Worse

Participating in Halloween doesn't mean sugar has to be involved

The day that children of all ages anticipate every year has arrived today -- HALLOWEEN!

But it is very unfortunate that the #1 ingredient that is promoted on this day is something that the body could live without. We all want to do something about the obesity problem in the United States, but we fail to recognize how sugar is perpetuating the problem.

I can hear you now...

"Aw, come on, Jimmy, it's just a little fun on Halloween! Lighten up a little and enjoy this day with the children."

You know, before I started livin' la vida low-carb a couple of years ago, I would have agreed with you entirely. Unfortunately, though, that kind of thinking is exactly why I was fat kid who grew into an even fatter teenager and young adult, and eventually ballooned into the 410-pound morbidly obese man I was prior to January 1, 2004.

It's hard for me to say this, but people have become way too irresponsible about the nutritional decisions both for themselves and for their children. Sugar has become so culturally acceptable that nobody is alarmed by these gobs and gobs of candy that will be distributed to children tonight.

In fact, my church is having an event called "Truck or Treat" tonight where members will line up the trunks of their cars along the edge of the parking lot and let the trick-or-treaters come through dressed up in their costumes to get all the candy they could ever want. The coordinator of this event pleaded with people, "We need as much candy as we can possibly get." While I knew what she meant, those haunting words are still ringing in my head.

What are we doing people? Are we just telling people that sugar is not harming them and go on about our business like there is nothing wrong?! I believe so strongly about the dangers of sugar on our society that I devoted an entire chapter on the subject in my book "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb." It is way too important for us to bury our heads in the sand and become oblivious to reality.

So what do you do for the kids and even adults who NEED a sugar-free/low-carb option?

Here are just a few suggestions:

- Small packages of mixed nuts
- Sugar-free chocolate candies from Russell Stover
- Individually-wrapped sugar-free hard candies
- Sugar-free gum
- Non-candy items such as a small toy, school supplies, or crayons
- Cinnamon and Splenda pork rinds
- Cheese sticks (who doesn't like these?!)
- Slim Jims
- MUCH MUCH MORE!!! (See this list of other sugar-free options from Connie Bennett)

Speaking of Connie, she posted a story today at her SUGAR SHOCK! blog about how each child who goes out to trick-or-treat tonight will receive an estimated $31 worth of sugar-laced candy! WHOA! She warns about how the overabundance of high fructose corn syrup in many of these products is mindboggling.

Yes, Halloween is a fun day for kids and some adults and I cannot and will not stand in the way of that. But it is my duty as someone who lost over 180+ pounds and knows how harmful sugar was to me and my health to inform you of my concerns about all of this candy that is so readily available to us especially on the day of Halloween.

Wouldn't you just love to see the reaction of the candy companies if NOBODY bought their products just one time during the Halloween season, arguably their make-or-break holiday? You would see the price of their candy drop so low that they'd almost be giving it away! Halloween is a very profitable time for these companies and they will continue to feed the need as long as people keep turning a blind eye to the negative effect sugar is having on themselves and their children.

One last note of encouragement: I know it is going to be hard at the office today and then tonight with all the activities of Halloween going on. But whatever you do, RESIST the urge to splurge on sugary candy. If you are livin' la vida low-carb, you don't need it. It is not worth derailing your weight loss efforts for just a moment of sweetness. Once that moment subsides, you'll be craving another, and another, and another...

BREAK THE CYCLE of sugar addiction and enjoy the freedom that the low-carb lifestyle brings instead. When you do, you will shun sugar forever. And that is a VERY good thing!


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