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Candy Bowl Truths: How much candy is too much?

Doctors differ on how you should approach sweets with your child

Halloween means a whole lot of candy, and many parents worry about their kids getting a sugar high. Despite being an urban legend, candy can have other effects on children's bodies.

Copious amounts of candy are often synonymous with Halloween, but how much should your child really have?

One long-believed myth is that candy leads to a “sugar-high.”

The idea that sugar might affect a child’s behavior emerged in 1922, but it did not get much attention until the book, “Why Your Child Is Hyperactive,” was published in 1975.

In 1994, the New England Journal of Medicine tested nine different measures of cognitive and behavioral functions, but it found sugar did not have an effect.

Another analysis reached the same conclusion in 1995:

  • Sugar can affect a child’s body in other ways, leading to cavities, weight gain and an increased risk of disease.
  • High-sugar diets have been linked to insulin resistance, which can cause diabetes.

The World Health Organization recommends that sugars from processed foods only make up 5% of your daily caloric intake. For a moderately active 10-year-old, that is no more than 23 grams of added sugar a day.

Because of that, some pediatricians recommend parents only give their children small amounts of candy a day.

Other dieticians and nutritionists recommend parents let their kids eat as much candy as they want over a set amount of time, saying it helps teach children self-control.