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Halloween and the sweet fear of sugar

Halloween is just around the corner, and it’s time for ostomates everywhere to join in on the festive fun without any worries – including all the delicious sweets from trick-or-treating and parties.

Sugar can cause a number of health issues over time, including obesity, tooth decay and damage to the immune system.

Advice for parents everywhere is becoming stricter on what they should allow their child to eat, in particular, their sugar intake. The same health effects are also experienced by those with a stoma, although a healthy diet may be even more important.

For an ostomate, too much sugar can lead to bloating, constipation or diarrhoea (irregular bowel movements). This is because excess sugar can throw off your digestion cycle.

There are other potential effects, for example, jelly sweets can cause stool output to thicken due to the intake of gelatin. All of this can cause children (and adults) to end up feeling rather sick after gorging on sweet treats at Halloween. So, what’s the solution? “Everything in moderation”.

The old saying rings true once again, moderation is the key. Salts and sugars can actually be beneficial in moderation, helping to replace minerals that are lost through stoma output.

Here are some tips for enjoying Halloween sweets and treats with an ostomy:

  1. Choose wisely: Opt for soft, easy-to-digest candies like gummies, marshmallows, or chocolate that won’t be harsh on your stomach.
  2. Portion control: Enjoy your favourite candies in moderation to keep things comfortable. A little treat can go a long way!
  3. Hydration is key: Stay well-hydrated to help with digestion and avoid any potential issues.
  4. Pre-cut or blend: If you’re concerned about certain candies, consider cutting or blending them to make them easier to digest.
  5. Know your limits: Be mindful of your own dietary restrictions and comfort levels. Everyone’s needs are different.
  6. Plan ahead: Carry extra supplies just in case, so you can enjoy the night worry-free.

Another idea that many parents with children who have strict dietary restrictions use is to drop off non-sugary treats at neighbouring houses and ask them to give those to your child instead. Healthy snacks, such as fruit or nuts might be an option, or perhaps a small toy. This means that your child can get involved in the Halloween fun without you fearing a hefty bag of sugar.

Happy Halloween everyone, we hope you have a ghoulishly good time! For more help and advice, make sure to visit our stoma advice centre.


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