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Sugar Lights Up Brain Like Cocaine and Healthy Halloween Treats

With Halloween around the corner, I wanted to share this shocking information on sugar shared in an interview with Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D., founder and medical director of UltraWellness Center.

Yes, I’m sure you have most likely already bought bags and bags of candy to pass out to all the cute little trick or treaters this year. I will admit, it is so fun to see all the cute creative costumes that come by and see their faces light up with joy to pick their favorite pieces of candy out of your bowl. Unfortunately, it’s not just their cute little faces that light up.  Would you think differently if you knew their tiny little developing brains light up “like a Christmas tree” according to Dr. Mark Hyman, when they consume high amounts of sugar?

According to a recent study by Dr. David Ludwig, M.D., PhD, this area of the brain that lights up on functional MRI tests in response to high amounts of sugar, is the same part of the brain that lights up in response to cocaine and heroine. Say what????

This makes complete sense when you think about it in ancestral terms. Sweet foods at one time were rare occurrences – special treats that came around only seasonally. It appears our bodies may not have developed an “off switch” to tell us when to quit, creating a real addiction much like one to drugs.

It seems sweet and innocent to allow kids and ourselves alike to indulge in candy like we do on Halloween every year and every holiday for that matter, but is it really?

Dr. Hyman makes a great point in this interview quoting “If Kobe Bryant or Taylor Swift got up on TV and tried to sell our kids crack cocaine and heroine, what would we say?”

I think the answer is obvious.

You can watch the full interview here:


I don’t share all of this to make you feel guilty and like a terrible parent if you are allowing your kids to participate in holiday festivities that include eating excess sugar. That’s not my goal. I’m sure you are a wonderful parent and I want you to hear that first. You love your children dearly as any parent does and are doing the absolute best that you can. That’s all you can do. I share this simply to make you more aware of what’s really in our food and how it effects us. It’s up to you to decide what to do with this information.

The fact that sugar creates an addictive response in our brains just scratches the surface as to how dangerous it is to our overall health and well being when eaten in excess and goes beyond what I have time to cover in this blog post. The scary part is sugar is not just in the obvious foods like candy, but in almost every product you find on the supermarket shelves these days from lunch meat to ketchup to bread to salad dressings, and often is in forms you may not even recognize. Artificial sweeteners are equally if not more dangerous for our health.

Here is a really helpful resource you can use to learn all the sneaky names that sugar is disguised as in your foods. 

Start reading your labels. I think you will be surprised.

If you want some healthier Halloween treats this year for your kiddos here are a few that I found across the web that would be fun to make:

Clementine Pumpkins

Clementine and Celery Pumpkins A Healthy Halloween Treat


Spiders on a Log


Spiders on a Log Healthy Halloween Snack


Pumpkin Fruit Kabobs




Deviled Avocado Eggs: Looks like an Eyeball!




Halloween Chocolate Cupcakes


Paleo Halloween Chocolate Cupcakes | Gluten-Free | Queen of Quinoa

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