Holidays

This Halloween, local dietitians are telling you to 'eat candy like a boss'

Staying safe this Halloween

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIKD) - Most kids know, if you've had a successful night trick-or-treating, you could be staring down into a bucket of sugary loot. But, what's staring back at them, shouldn't be kept under wraps.

Registered dietitian and diabetes expert at Portneuf Medical Center Abby Wilson said this time of year sees a spike in the number of kids who find out they have either type I or type II diabetes.

"Sugar is energy, so all of that candy overload can sometimes tip the scale to say, 'my body is not doing a great job with this and it needs help,'" Wilson said. 

She advises, a good rule of thumb is to stick to 15 grams of carbohydrates, which what you'll find in a fun size candy bar as one serving size. Then, pace yourself so that candy can last for several weeks.

In essence, it's a good idea to go for your favorite candy first, and don't waste your time on the stuff you don't care about.

"I always like to say, 'eat candy like a boss. This means, know what you like, know what you don't like, and stick with the good stuff."

Wilson added, candy and sugar does not cause diabetes, but high amounts of it could trigger the discovery of the underlying disease.

Some of the symptoms to look for are nausea and fatigue. If that happens, go see your doctor to get those blood levels checked-out.

She said, some patients will come in with a blood sugar value of around 500, and to understand how high that is, between 80 and 100 is a normal level.

"Someone without diabetes will be able to handle a bag of candy. Most likely, you'll get a stomachache from eating a high amount of sugar. But, it's not going to make your blood sugar jump to a degree where your body can't tackle it and get that sugar where it needs to go," Wilson added.

She noted, the reason why Halloween season is the time when we see the biggest spike in kids finding out they have the underlying disease, isn't necessarily from the high amounts of sugar consumed. Instead, she said it correlates with cold and flu season, where viruses will kick-in the process of the body's blood sugar naturally rising to make sure you have enough energy to get well. However, those with diabetes won't see those blood sugar levels come back down afterward.

Overall, this year, less people are buying those large bags of candy, since officers with the Pocatello Police Department have noticed a decline in people hitting the streets to go door-to-door, but instead attend community events.

Century High School's school resource officer Zac Bartschi said he has four rules to keep kids and families safe during the holiday:

1. Plan a route beforehand. Know where you're going to go, and if applicable, make sure you know where your teenagers will be headed.

2. Make sure your costume is well-lit, including your jackets and coats, which most people forget about.

3. Avoid wearing masks since people don't realize you're not able to see everything going on around you.

4. Check the candy at the end of the night, making sure to toss-out anything homemade.

"If you have a plan in place before the day of Halloween, it will be a much more enjoyable experience for your family," Bartschi said.

He added, this is also a good reminder for drivers to be extra cautious that night.

"Just because the speed limit might be 25 miles per hour in some areas, doesn't mean you have to go 25 miles per hour. You need to slow down and make sure you're watching-out because there will be a bunch of little kids crossing the road. Keep your head on a swivel," he added.

Have fun, be safe, and Happy Halloween!


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