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Halloween Candy: Best and Worst

7:17 AM, Oct 31, 2013   |    comments
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Like it or not, it's going to happen - and soon.

It can strike at any time: in the middle of the afternoon, after hours in front of your computer or late in the evening watching TV. Bowls filled with chocolaty, fruity and chewy treats meant for pint-sized costumed visitors will slowly be emptied, possibly even before Halloween night.

It can be a challenge to resist dipping into a bowl of candy, or sneaking a treat or two out of your children's Halloween stash. Even if you rarely have sweets in the house, you're bound to have a few bags of candy in your pantry to welcome trick-or-treaters. Because it's inevitable that you'll be enjoying some Halloween candy soon, you'll want to know that some candies may be better for you than others. They're all treats of course, and all loaded with sugar and fat, but some contain more than others.

To that end, we generated a list of 25 popular Halloween candies and whittled them down to the five best and five worst candies. We ranked them not by popularity or taste, but instead put together some advice for the treats to reach for or avoid.

Halloween Events in Triad

Dietitians Gail Wisniewski and Kim Lett offered guidance on the ranked candies. Both agree that Halloween candies are a treat, and should be enjoyed in small doses.

"It's keeping it in moderation. 'A little dab'll do ya,' so to speak," said Lett, who is the senior wellness director at the Oviedo YMCA.

Because Halloween candy is really just added sugar in your diet, the candies were ranked according to grams of sugar, from fewest to greatest, and then by saturated fat. Certain ingredients deemed OK in moderation by the dietitians, such as dark chocolate and nuts, gave some treats an edge over others.

"Dark chocolate and nuts are good for you, again in small amounts, like an ounce of each per day - basically like two of the

--------------------------------THE BEST-------------------------------

5. Almond Joy and Mounds: The fifth-ranked treats are tied on the list. Almond Joy and Mounds edge out a field of close competitors, including their fun-size counterparts like Crunch, Kit Kat and Hershey's because of their almond and dark chocolate content, respectively. Both treats have 80 calories and 4.5 grams of saturated fat. Because Almond Joy contains almonds, its 8 grams of sugar keeps it on even footing with Mounds, which has 7 grams of sugar.dark kisses or a fun-size Snickers," Wisniewski said.

 4. Starburst: A fun-size Halloween pack of these fruity chews contains two wrapped candies for a total of 28 calories, 4.8 grams of sugar and no saturated fat. However, its chewy nature makes it prone to stick to your teeth, so that sets it behind the Hershey's Dark Nuggets.

3. Hershey's Special Dark Nuggets with Almonds: The third ranked candy is the first to contain saturated fat - 3 grams' worth. However, it contains both dark chocolate and almonds, and this saving grace leap frogged it over the fourth ranked treat. Two nuggets contain 100 calories, 8.5 grams of sugar and 2 grams of protein.

"I would say that a candy with nuts and chocolate is more satiating than candy with pure sugar, as there is fat and protein," Wisniewski said. "Protein is very satiating."

2. Smarties: One roll of these pastel-colored, melt-in-your-mouth candies also contains no saturated fat and will set you back just 25 calories and 6 grams of sugar. Keep it to one roll, though. A second roll doubles the amount of sugar to 12 grams, moving the treat to the "worst" list.

1. Charms Blow Pops: With only 15 calories per lollipop, no saturated fat and 4 grams of sugar, this treat topped the list. But, try to resist biting into the lollipop as long as possible.

"Hard candies can also stick to teeth when eaten, and they can linger in the mouth for a longer period of time, also contributing to dental erosion," Lett said.

-------------------------------The Worst--------------------------------

5. Candy corn: It's sad to say, but this iconic treat, despite its legendary status as the go-to seasonal candy, made the list of the worst five treats. A typical Halloween-sized individual bag contains about seven pieces of candy. There is no saturated fat, but you'll get about 12 grams of sugar. In comparison, five Special Dark Hershey's Kisses will set you back 105 calories for the same amount of sugar.

4. Tootsie Rolls: Another Halloween favorite has made the worst list. Along with their chewy nature, which isn't the best choice for your teeth, just four Tootsie Rolls have 12.67 grams of sugar. They will also set you back 93 calories.

3. Sweet Tarts: Ranked third on the worst list, just eight pieces contain 13 grams of sugar and 50 calories.

2. Nerds: To say nothing of their artificial colors, these little rocks of sugar contain 14 grams of sugar in each 60-calorie tablespoon full. However, it will probably be the candy of choice in the Wisniewski household. Her favorite is Almond Joy, so she said she'll be purchasing Nerds instead so that the treats don't get eaten before trick-or-treaters arrive.

1. Sugar Babies: Ironically, for a candy with such a charming name, its effects on your body and your teeth are less than sweet. These candy-coated caramels have the dubious honor of being the worst candy on the list, with 15 grams of sugar and 80 calories in each snack-sized pack.

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