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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Halloween Healthy Treats

This Halloween, choose healthier treats. Give trick-or-treaters something to encourage activity or creativity, like finger puppets, yo-yos, small games, coloring books, colored pencils, or Halloween-themed stickers, notepads, or erasers.

If you want to give out edibles, pick sturdy fresh fruit like apples or oranges, boxes of raisins, single servings of raw almonds, individually-wrapped string cheese, or 100% xylitol-sweetened candy.

I've never before advocated eating candy because most sweet foods and drinks promote the formation of cavities (along with other health problems). But xylitol actually has the opposite effect. It's a naturally sweet compound originally extracted from birch trees but also found in the fiber of other plants like berries, mushrooms, corn husks, and oats.

Studies show that the regular consumption of xylitol

Xylitol is available as a granulated sweetener with a texture similar to sugar. It can be used in cooking if you want to make treats from scratch. (Note that xylitol doesn't caramelize and because it kills fungus, it inactivates yeast.)

Xylitol is also found as an ingredient in gum (peppermint, spearmint, or cinnamon) and mints (peppermint or cinnamon). Studies showing benefits used six or more grams of xylitol each day, sometimes in the form of gum chewed for 5 minutes at least 3 times each day.

Avoid products with any added sweeteners other than xylitol.

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