Resisting candy binges

GLENN ELLIS | 11/5/2018, 5:11 a.m.
By the time you read this column, you’re either preparing for Halloween, or you’re looking at the piles of candy ...
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High-fat, high-calorie and high-sugar diets are responsible for a whole host of health conditions. Large amounts of sugar contribute to insulin resistance, which can cause diabetes. Sugar leaches calcium from your bones, making osteoporosis a worry.

Eating a lot of fat increases your risk of heart disease, obesity and depression. Poor diets lower the effectiveness of your immune system, making it easier for your body to succumb to a virus. Many of these conditions play a role in the development of others. For example, being overweight increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

If you’re eating sugar-free candy, a wild and crazy binge could give you what’s known as “Halloween diarrhea,” the explosive effect of the artificial sweetener sorbitol.

One of the most common health warnings about Halloween candy comes from the FDA: Don’t eat too much black licorice.

This isn’t about the calories inherent in candy, but rather about glycyrrhizin, the natural sweetening compound that comes from the licorice root. The compound causes the body’s potassium levels to fall, which can have nasty side effects for some people. These effects include abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure, swelling, lethargy and even congestive heart failure.

If you’re chowing down on tons of black licorice and you feel your heart rhythm going funny, stop eating it and talk to a doctor. Take it easy on the black Twizzlers – the red ones aren’t even licorice, mind you, but they have their own health implications if eaten in excess.

If you’re looking for additional advice about dealing with Halloween candy and children in your household, let me leave you with the results of a recent study: It only takes 2 weeks to see increases in cholesterol levels in young, healthy people. Increases in cholesterol levels, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, might start to show up even sooner.

Disclaimer: This column is for informational purposes only. If you have a medical condition or concern, please seek professional care from your doctor or other health professional. Glenn Ellis is a Health Advocacy Communications Specialist and is available through http://www.glennellis.com.