With Halloween soon approaching, parents brace for the yearly "Halloween Effect." This is the common belief that the sugary sweets and chocolates of Halloween cause children to bounce off the walls with hyperactivity. To compensate, parents often substitute these with "healthy" sugar-free gelatin, low-fat, sugar free yogurt, or low-calorie fruit Popsicles, which also happen to all come in a variety of neon-bright colors that kids can't help but notice.
Unfortunately, conventional wisdom is mistaken. A whopping 12 double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have all failed to show any effect of sugar consumption on kids' behavior — either those with ADHD or those without.
But parents know how their kids get amped up after the Halloween haul. So if it isn't the sugar, what would it be? It turns out that those healthy alternatives of Halloween may contain a decidedly unhealthy trick hidden within the treat: the artificial food colors (AFCs).
A quick glance at a sample of Halloween candy packaging reveals the kinds of AFCs they contain.
Kid's Snacks AFCs