The Scientific Reason Why You Can’t Stop Eating Halloween Candy

Halloween candy is literally everywhere today– can you resist? It turns out sugar addiction alone isn’t the only reason you can’t stop popping those tiny candy bars once you start. An assistant professor of Nutrition at Simmons University, Rachele Pojednic says it’s the convergence of sugar, fat and salt found in many candies that “really revs up the hedonic eating system.” In other words, you’re eating for pleasure rather than physical need. Pojednic says it might even go beyond the candy’s ingredients, saying “We have these really complex neurologic systems where learning and memory and pleasure all come together. That’s why when you walk into the office and you see that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, your mouth literally starts watering. You will automatically start salivating, because you have this memory of pleasure, so that cycle sort of continues.” This can happen with any food you find delicious, but with something like Halloween candy, which is often linked to nostalgia and positive memories, it’s likely to trigger an even more intense reaction. She adds that it’s ok to give in to your urge to eat candy sometimes, but it’s important to practice mindful eating overall.