A few days before October 31, establishments, workplaces, and even friends are already plying guests and clients with candy. It’s a huge temptation, since we love candy, and it makes us feel good.
There are three main reasons our bodies enjoy it: first, it makes us feel good. Candy activates our brain’s reward system through neurotransmitters called dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine is associated with pleasurable sensations, while serotonin affects our mood and sense of wellbeing.
We also crave candy when we’re stressed because cortisol, the stress hormone, drives us to eat and store energy. This hormone raises our heart rate and our blood pressure and glucose levels.
Our bodies are also tempted to eat more sweets when we’re sleep deprived. Having good quality sleep is crucial to our proper functioning. When we don’t sleep well, our cortisol levels increase, and the hormone that tells our brains that we’ve eaten enough decreases, generating a sensation like hunger.
And it is for all these reasons that, if you see your favorite candy bar sitting on a reception desk during the month of October, you will want to grab it.
If you want to limit how much candy you or your kids eat during trick-or-treating season, here are a few tips that might help.
- Be picky and choose your candy wisely. Chocolate is a better option than hard candy as it dissolves more quickly and is in contact with your teeth for less time. Sour or chewy candy should also be avoided.
- Eat before trick-or-treating. Feeling sated will instantly reduce the urge to eat lots of sweets.
- Limit the time you spend handling the candy. Once you’re done trick-or-treating, put the bag away and find a different source of entertainment.
- Control your intake. Instead of eating all your candy in one go, space it out over the following days.
- Note on Halloween alternatives. You might get visits from trick-or-treaters who have diabetes. We recommend that, aside from handing out candy, you include other Halloween treats, such as stickers, glowsticks, or small toys.
If you have a health condition like diabetes, you should be especially mindful this time of year. Follow these recommendations to help you resist the temptations around you, and remember to monitor your blood sugar levels more frequently. If you notice any irregularities, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor.