What's Halloween without piles of candy — and what's candy without the fat and sugar, wreaking havoc on our waistlines?
Although candy has little — if any — redeeming nutritional value, you don't have to forgo it altogether on the sweetest of sugary holidays, said Heather Mangieri, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.
"Don't have endless amounts, but one to three pieces" of candy on Halloween night isn't bad, Mangieri told MyHealthNewsDaily.
MyHealthNewsDaily took at look at 37 of the most popular Halloween candies — from Blow Pops to Skittles, Baby Ruths to 100 Grands — and found the five best and five worst of these for your health, based on their fat and sugar content. Take a look to see where your favorite candy landed on our list:
1. Jolly Ranchers: Three of these hard candies have 70 calories, no fat and 11 grams of sugar. It's hard to do much better than that.
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2. Blow Pops: This 18-gram candy-gum combo has 60 calories, no fat and 13 grams of sugar.
3. Gobstoppers: Nine pieces of this everlasting treat have 60 calories, no fat and 14 grams of sugar.
4. Pixy Stix: There are 60 calories, 0 grams of fat and 15 grams of sugar in seven straws of this fruit-flavored candy.
5. Candy corn: Nineteen pieces of this ultimate Halloween candy has 140 calories, no fat and 32 grams of sugar.
1. Mr. Goodbar: A 49-gram Mr. Goodbar will cost you 250 calories, 17 grams of fat (including seven grams of saturated fat) and 23 grams of sugar.
2. NutRageous: Another nutty candy, a 51-gram NutRageous bar, will run you 260 calories, 16 grams of fat (including five grams of saturated fat) and 22 grams of sugar.
3. Snickers: Maybe a Snickers bar really should be a meal on its own. A 59-gram bar has 280 calories, 14 grams of fat — (including five grams of saturated fat) and 30 grams of sugar.
4. Baby Ruth: A 60-gram bar has 280 calories, 14 grams of fat (including 8 grams of saturated fat). It also has 33 grams of sugar, the second-highest sugar total among the candies examined, better only than a 60-gram 3 Musketeers candy bar that has 40 grams of sugar (though a 3 Musketeers bar has only eight grams of total fat).
5. Mounds: The only candy on our "Worst 5" list to not have peanuts, a 49-gram bar of this coconut treat has 230 calories, 13 grams of fat and 21 grams of sugar. It also has 10 grams of saturated fat, the most of any of the 37 surveyed candies.
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Most candies have a lot of sugar, so it's better to find sweets that are low in fat, or fat-free, Mangieri said.
Candies on "the least healthy list are things that have a higher amount of saturated fats," Mangieri said. Saturated fats can increase levels of artery-clogging cholesterol and raise the risk of heart disease.
When giving out treats to kids, it's better to stick to healthier items like sugar-free gum, popcorn, pretzel packs and raisin boxes, Mangieri said. For example, a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of pretzels has 110 calories, one gram of fat and less than one gram of sugar. And a quarter of a cup of raisins has 130 calories, no fat and 29 grams of sugar, in addition to fiber, protein, potassium, iron and calcium.
Candy is one of the top three expenses for Halloween – the average American consumer plans to spend $17.99 on candy this year, compared to $20.75 on costumes and $14.54 on decorations, according to the National Retail Federation.
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