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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Casting A Low-Carb Spell On Halloween Candy



Double double, your diet's in trouble
Halloween candy can turn low-carb to rubble!

Boo! Hey, it's me, "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" Man Jimmy Moore here and it's time for Halloween yet again in less than a week. This is the one time of the year when you get to see witches, ghosts, and goblins right next to Cinderella, angels, and Dora the Explorer alongside Spiderman, SpongeBob, and that freaky Scream character. Yikes!

But as scary as some of those Halloween costumes can be these days, there is an even scarier reason why people who are livin' la vida low-carb should be afraid, very afraid of the Halloween season -- C-A-N-D-Y!

Sugar, sugar everywhere, try to resist it if you dare! Ha ha ha!

Let me tell you, I know how hard it is to resist the urge to munch away at the overabundance of candy that is available to you this time of year. If you have been paying close attention over the past few weeks, then you've probably seen candy available in places that you never even thought about -- in your office at work, next to the bank teller, and even in your doctor's office. Calgon, take me away!

The prevalence and outright acceptance of sugar in our society is very disheartening to me. With the number of people who are either overweight or obese numbering two out of every three, when are we finally going to realize the intricate and damaging role this sweet little substance is doing to our bodies? Not only is it making us fatter and fatter, but it is also leading to a significant decline in the health of so many. Eeeek! Now THAT is scary!

The results of a recent survey on Halloween treats conducted by a survey company I participate in called NFO MySurvey.com (it's FREE to join and you get to participate in LOTS of fun surveys about products and services that haven't hit the market yet--CLICK HERE to learn more!) found that the "favorites" among adults when they were children and today still HEAVILY lean towards the sugary candies.

  • 77% liked chocolate as a child and 70% do as an adult

  • 46% liked bubble gum as a child and 28% do as an adult

  • 42% liked sweet tart candy as a child and 32% do as an adult

  • 42% liked taffy or caramel as a child and 33% do as an adult

  • 37% liked candy corn as a child and 26% do as an adult

  • 31% liked caramel apples as a child and 33% do as an adult

  • 34% liked hard candies as a child and 29% do as an adult

  • 21% liked caramel corn/popcorn as a child and 22% do as an adult

  • Those statistics are enough to make you sick, aren't they? Well, look at what brought up the rear in terms of favorite Halloween treats when the survey participants were kids compared to now that they are adults.

  • 15% liked getting small toys compared to 5% as an adult

  • 9% liked apples compared to 11% as an adult

  • 5% liked trail mix or dried fruit compared to 17% as an adult

  • Interestingly, only 3% of the survey participants said NONE of these choices were appealing to them as kids and an even more shocking 4% said none of them would be appealing to them today. JUST FOUR PERCENT?!?!?! More than that preferred a small toy for a "treat" at Halloween?! What's wrong with our culture? ARGH! Is it any wonder Halloween makes the obesity problem worse?

    Now before you go calling me a party pooper and rationalizing that eating Halloween candy is okay because you say it's all a part of the harmless fun of this season that everybody participates in, I can honestly tell you without any trepidation in my voice whatsoever that it is indeed possible to live your life without eating sugar. Gasp! Yep, there I said it. The cat's out of the bag now (was that a black cat?).

    People who are new to livin' la vida low-carb may be shocked to learn that they should no longer be eating sugar as part of their healthy lifestyle change to low-carb living. However, if you are serious about wanting to lose weight and keep it off forever on low-carb, then you will need to learn this invaluable lesson for yourself. The benefits you will reap far outweigh the innate need and desire you think you have for sugar.

    In fact, an incredible study was conducted in August 2005 by University of California Irvine psychologist Elizabeth Loftus who found that creating false memories in your mind about certain kinds of foods can actually cause your desire for those foods to wane.

    As I discuss in the chapter of my Livin' La Vida Low-Carb book entitled "Sugar Is Rat Poison," one of the things that I consciously did when I first went on my low-carb plan was to thoroughly convince myself that eating sugar was tantamount to eating rat poison. Obviously I knew it wasn't REALLY rat poison, but just the thought of that has kept me safely away from putting ANYTHING with sugar up to my lips for nearly three years.

    Let me tell you, though, temptation will have a way of rearing its ugly head at just the right time to test how strong your resistance will be. You'll have an office Halloween party with all kinds of desserts staring you smack dab in the face while they cry out to you, "Eat me, eat me."

    Before you are faced with this scenario, I want your response to this situation to be planned ahead of time. What you need to do is cast a low-carb spell on Halloween candy by saying to it, "You are rat poison, rat poison! Get thee behind me!" Okay, maybe that's a little melodramatic! But you get the point. It IS possible to resist eating sugar if you can convince yourself of this surprisingly simple concept.

    I know in my experience with not eating sugar any longer, I can actually put Halloween candy right in front of my face today to see how tempted I would be to eat it. While it can certainly look and smell good to me, I have absolutely NO desire to eat it at all. I don't know why or how this has happened, I just know it is not a point of weakness for me any longer.

    Don't get me wrong, though. I still love my sweets, but now I get them without the sugar and instead use ones that have sugar substitutes in them. Read the labels of sugar-free and low-carb candies very carefully, though, and make sure you find the ones that are not too loaded with the stomach-upsetting sugar alcohols such as lactitol and the overused diarreah-causing maltitol (oh, and I noticed the candy companies are trying to hide the name "maltitol" in their ingredients now by calling it "isomalt" instead. Beware because this is the EXACT SAME THING! EEEK!). Better options for you are ones which are sweetened primarily with Splenda, erythritol, oligofructose, and acesulfame potassium (ACE-K).

    See, getting through Halloween isn't as hard as you think it is if you remember why you started livin' la vida low-carb in the first place. No more giving in to things like candy corn, miniature candy bars, or hard candies that are just loaded with sugar just because it's Halloween. You need all of that like you need a hole in your head!

    So be smart, stay alert, and start practicing on that low-carb spell you are going to put on Halloween candy next Tuesday. Say it with me now -- "sugar is rat poison, sugar is rat poison, (SAY IT!) sugar is rat poison!"

    On Halloween I'll have some fun, but I'll quickly run from the rat poison!

    Keep on livin' la vida low-carb and you'll come out of Halloween looking and feeling good! There's nothing scary about that!

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    3 Comments:

    Blogger Newbirth said...

    I saw Halloween-themed pencils at WalMart. Hand out something like that.

    10/26/2006 12:36 AM  
    Blogger Anne said...

    We've got little tubs of Halloween play dough ready to go. It's a little more expensive but I think it should be way more fun than candy.

    And darnit I just got a bag of sugar free candy with "Splenda" in it home. Checked the ingredients... isomalt was the first ingredient and splenda was the last. Ditto for the supposed "Splenda" sweetened candy I've been eating. #(@*! false advertising. Although it does explain the stomach ache. Thanks as always for the info Jimmy!

    10/26/2006 6:29 PM  
    Blogger Beth said...

    If you plan just a little bit in advance, you can avoid inviting the nasty sugar-monster into your home altogether. Visit a party & toy supply site like OrientalTrading.com (or something similar)and pick up some small toys, this year for example, I got some Glow-in-the-Dark Bouncing Balls for just about 10 cents apiece. So, for around $10 I get about 100 balls to hand out.

    After all, who doesn't like bouncy balls? Especially glow-in-dark bouncy balls?

    10/27/2006 1:21 AM  

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