To continue the Halloween theme from earlier this week, and because we’ll use any excuse we can find to talk about (or eat) candy, we thought we would delve a little deeper into the proverbial pillowcase and illustrate why even the most health-conscious and well-intentioned parents don’t always make the best candy choices for themselves or their children. Sure, we all know it’s about enjoying treats in moderation and seeing if there are any better choices we can make, but with health claims boldy stated on those brightly colored wrappers, the situation can get…a little sticky. With that in mind, the Huffington Post and registered dietitian and ADA spokesperson Judy Caplan have pointed out seven common misconceptions regarding “healthier” Halloween goodies. Any of these sound familiar?

1. Always go low or non-fat. Many people associate low or non-fat items with less calories and better nutrition, but that’s not always true. When fat is taken out of a product, it is often replaced with sugar, so the calories may not be reduced. If you think you’re being virtuous by noshing gummy bears instead of chocolate, not so fast. Be sure to take a comprehensive look at the nutrition label for calories, fat, and sugar content before digging in.

2. Bite size = better for you. Not only do the nutrition stats for various mini candies differ greatly, but they are often so small and sweet that they can leave you feeling unsatisfied and jonesing for more. Your best bet? Look for light and airy minis that are low in calories and fat (check that label!), or do yourself a favor and just indulge in one full-size bar of your choice.

3. No sugar? No problem! As previously stated, when one item in a product is reduced, other not-so-healthy ones are often increased in order to compensate and improve taste. Even if an item is touted as sugar-free, it can still be loaded with carbohydrates from flours and grains. And as far as the fat and calorie content goes, can you guess where the improved taste comes from?

4. Go all the way with all-natural. All-natural does not mean that a food is low in fat or calories. And even foods made from all-natural ingredients can be prepared in an unhealthy way. Potato chips, for example, are made from potatoes, but once fried in hot fat and salted, they lose most of their nutrition. Brands bragging that their products are all-natural can be misleading.

5. Oh it has fruit and nuts? It’s practically health food! Fruit and nuts alone are, in fact, nutrient-dense. But when packed into candy, they bring calories and fat with each crunchy, chewy bite. Want a good scare? Check out the fat and calorie stats on chocolate-covered raisins or peanuts.

6.Chewy and fruity must mean fat-free. Some candies are, and some candies aren’t. But without checking the nutrition label on those Sour Patch Kids, you can never be sure. Look for ingredients like partially hydrogenated oils, which signify the presence of trans-fat. For a sweet swap, consider trying different hard candies, which tend to have reasonable calorie counts, are fat free, and dissolve slowly so you can enjoy them longer.

7. When in doubt, go with dark chocolate. We all did cartwheels when studies were published stating that dark chocolate was heart healthy, but the individuals in those studies were only consuming one ounce, or the equivalent of 150 calories. Go ahead and enjoy your dark chocolate, but remember, it’s still an indulgence, and should be treated as such.

Are we saying that we shouldn’t enjoy any of the not-so-healthy options on a holiday devoted to candy? Of course not. Splurge in moderation, but be honest with yourself and approach the day armed with (accurate) information. Trick or treat!

Source: "Busted:7 Halloween Nutrition Myths"