Trick or Treat!

Margie LaFleur hammockFor many of you, Halloween candy will find its way into your grocery cart soon. But how do you choose the lesser of evils when it comes to your health? Two of the biggest villains to look for are partially hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup. If you read the words partially hydrogenated oil of any kind, you are looking at trans fatty acids. They were originally created back in the 1950’s to prolong the shelf life of cookies, candies and baked goods. They also are found in peanut butter, nondairy whipped dessert toppings, fast food, ice cream and margarine. Despite much research, the food industry still allows partially hydrogenated oils to remain in our food. Once in our bodies, trans fats change the flexibility of our cell membranes and start an inflammation process that can result in insulin resistance, obesity, heart disease, autoimmune disease and depression. Another ingredient to always check for is high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup is not the same as sugar, but far more damaging. A team of Princeton researchers found rats given high fructose corn syrup gained much more weight than those given table sugar (sucrose). Rats also showed dangerous signs of what humans know as metabolic syndrome. Symptoms include abnormal weight gain especially around the belly, increased tryglycerides which are good predictors of heart disease. Mercury is often used in the process to create high fructose corn syrup and even traces of mercury are toxic. High fructose corn syrup is a very cheap sweetener used in beverages, cereals, breads, and condiments such as salad dressings, bbq sauces, jams and jellies. Check the ingredients before you put those bags of treats in your cart. What are some healthier alternatives? Snack bags of nuts or trail mix, small boxes of raisins, carrot sticks. Nonfood items such as erasers, stickers, and toothbrushes are good ideas too. So don’t be tricked into buying unhealthy treats this year! Make a habit of reading the ingredients in all foods not in their original form (processed). You will be spooked by what you find!

Margie LaFleur is a licensed massage therapist and owner of LaFleur Healing Arts since 1995.  She educates and shares simple frugal ideas to help others seeking a healthier lifestyle.

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