Sugar: The Ghastly Ghoul That Will Scare Your Guts And Petrify Your Probiotics!

halloween blog photo girl and candy.jpeg

Halloween is like the Super Bowl for kids. There are costumes, ghost stories, parties, and candy. Lots and lots of candy. And it’s not just candy—cookies, caramel apples, cakes, and other treats overflow from school, friend’s houses, and any other organizations your children might be involved in. This can be a huge problem for families that choose to limit or avoid processed sugar.

How sugar affects the gut and probiotics:

Before you give in to your overly-sugared aunt who tells you that sugar is just fine for kids, remember this: A study conducted by Oregon State University in 2015 discovered a correlation between a high-fat and high-sugar diet with the bacteria in the gut associated with cognitive function. The study went on to find that both short and long-term memory were also affected by diets high in sugar and fat.[1] And if you needed any more reasons to avoid sugar, studies have shown that it can also throw off your hormones, endocrine system, and digestion.[2] So what is a well-informed, sugar-avoiding adult and/or parent to do? 

Have a game plan:

Here is the thing: adults don’t always ask parents before they hand them a piece of candy. Everyone from your neighbor, to your mother, to the dentist will have a bowl of candy just lying around ready to destroy all of your hard work to avoid processed sugar. So what can you do to limit the amount of sugar your kids will ingest this Halloween?

 Talk to your kids

You can’t always be there with them, so talk to your kids about sugar. Remind them how you eat at home, what happens when they eat too much sugar, and explain that your long-term goals are to raise healthy kids.

  • Send a note

If your kids are especially sensitive to sugar, send a note with them to their caregiver or teacher that explains you are trying to limit their sugar consumption. It’s not that you want your kid to sit in the corner during the class party, but instead eat the foods you packed for them. That being said…

  • You provide the treats

If you can plan ahead and know that your child will be somewhere with excess amounts of sugar, pack their own low-sugar or sugar-alternative treats for the party.

  • Offer a trade-in

Nobody wants to be the monster that steals their kids’ candy when they come home from trick-or-treating. Instead, try offering to either buy or trade their candy stash for something else. Toys, a day-trip somewhere, or a night out at the movies are popular options.

 Sweet alternatives

You can always make your own Halloween treats that are low in sugar or contain sugar alternatives that you and your family approve of. You can also make Halloween themed foods out of fruits and veggies (Pinterest is rife with these ideas). Once you have created your own Halloween treat alternatives, pack them into your kids’ school bags or offer to bring a plate to your next party.

Counter the effects of sugar

Some people find that eating too much sugar causes symptoms similar to that of the flu or a hangover. This goes for parents and children alike. Take care of yourself by being gentle with your diet, drink lots of water, stick to a healthy, whole-food diet, and take your probiotics.* (LINK TO: Dr. Ohhira’s Page) You can also support yourself and your family with these tips:

  • Lemon juice

Drinking water or tea with lemon juice can help to support the gut while also acting as a diuretic.

  • Green tea

Also a diuretic, green tea (for adults, at least) can help to support the endoctrine system and your digestive health.


Be sure to take (or even up your dose of probiotics). Not only do probiotics support your immune system, studies have shown they work with your good gut bacteria to reduce sugar cravings.[3] In addition, yet other studies have shown that certain probiotic strains will help to promote control of healthy blood glucose levels.[4] So not only do probiotics REDUCE your sugar cravings, they also help keep your blood glucose in the healthy range if you do eat sweets. It’s a Win, win!*

  • Get a little exercise

Seek out some gentle exercise like swimming or walking the day after eating too much sugar.

  • Eat protein

Healthy fats and lean protein will help to fill you up while slowing the digestive process back down to an acceptable and normal speed.[5]

  Above all, stay calm

Halloween is a great holiday. Stick to the fun with parties, costumes, and games. And even if you can’t avoid all of the sugar, take comfort in knowing you can at least avoid some of it.


How do you handle the Halloween sugar rush in your household? Tell us in the comments below!









October is World Osteoperosis Day: 1 in 2 women over the age of 50 will break a bone due to Osteoporosis

Bone density word cloudResearch reveals Beneficial Bacteria and ‘Sister Minerals’ Support Calcium Uptake and Builds Bone Density.

It has been a mystery in the United States for years. With our high consumption of dairy products, why is it that we still have an incredibly high incidence of osteoporosis? Researchers in Asia, where both osteoporosis and dairy consumption have historically been quite low, might have found a major clue.

It turns out the calcium we consume through milk and supplements is not always absorbed or used to build bone. In fact, without a healthy probiotic population in the gut and the presence of other bone-building cofactors like vitamins D and K2, magnesium, zinc, and essential fatty acids, calcium can pass right through undigested. Or, even worse, excess calcium turns into unhealthy deposits in soft tissue and arteries.

The good news? There are simple dietary adjustments that can alter the body’s internal chemistry in favor of building strong bones. Research done exclusively on Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics® found that when women ages 48 and older took a Japanese probiotic supplement for at least eight weeks, their bone density was 36 percent higher when compared to those who didn’t take the supplement.

“Scientists suspect that probiotics help the body properly digest calcium,” said Fred Pescatore, M.D., a science advisor for Dallas-based Essential Formulas Incorporated, the U.S. distributor of the Japanese probiotic supplement used in the study. “The friendly bacteria also manufacture some of the vitamin cofactors needed for bone-building including B6, B12, K, and folic acid.”

It’s a surprising side benefit of probiotics, which are frequently touted for supporting digestive health and immune response. Derived from a fermented vegetable blend, it is actually a whole food that contains probiotics, prebiotics (substances that feed probiotics), and organic acids. Scientists have noted that it is important to provide both pro- and pre-biotic components for the GI tract to enhance calcium uptake. Such dramatic results might not occur when using common freeze-dried probiotic supplements.

In addition to probiotic and prebiotic supplementation, Dr. Pescatore encourages women to consider increasing magnesium intake for better bone health. “Magnesium regulates calcium absorption into our bones, and ensures that calcium deposits don’t wind up in the soft tissue. The proper balance for our body is a ratio of 2:1 calcium to magnesium. But if you have been deficient in magnesium due to high stress, or from taking calcium rich supplements or foods, you may want to increase your magnesium intake even more.”

These dietary tips are encouraging to the 8 million American women who are diagnosed with osteoporosis and the approximately 24 million others who have a high risk of developing it. Once again, prevention is key. Not only should mature adults make sure they keep up on prebiotic and vitamin supplementation for bone health, they need to pass those habits along to the next generation.

Bone Health Fast Facts

•In the United States, 1.5 million osteoporosis-related fractures occur annually, resulting in over $47 million in direct medical expenses per day.
•More women die each year from osteoporosis-related injuries than from ovarian and breast cancer combined.
•You get more calcium (and healthful nutrients) from a cup of cooked collard greens than a cup of milk.
•Sugar, soft drinks, caffeine, smoking and excess alcohol intake can hinder the bone-building process.
•Osteoporosis is a disease that can begin at any age
•1 in 2 women over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis
•80% of Americans with osteoporosis are women
• Osteoporosis fractures most often occur in the hip, spine, and wrist

Kawakami, Masayuki, Ohhira, Iichiroh, et al. The Influence of Lactic Acid Bacteria (OM-X) on Bone Structure, The Journal of Applied Nutrition, Vo. 53, No. 1, 2003