Don’t give kids sugar because it makes them extremely hyper.
Well, not exactly….at least this can’t be taken as a blanket truth.
While no one is denying that processed sugar is unhealthy, it is clear that sugar affects everyone differently.
An example of this is in a meta-analysis done in the mid-1990s which was published in the medical journal JAMA. The meta-analysis observed 16 previous studies on sugar’s effect on children. It was actually concluded that sugar does not affect behavior or cognitive abilities in children. However, the researchers quickly back-peddled and stated, “a small effect of sugar or effects on subsets of children cannot be ruled out.”
Also, it seems that some people are just more sensitive to sugar than others due to genetics. An extreme example of this is those with ADHD. Speaking about children with ADHD, Jill Castle, a dietician and childhood nutrition expert, said: “They may become more aggressive or hyperactive or difficult to parent.” Because of this, many parents have attempted to either limit or fully eradicate sugar from their child’s diet.
However, Castle mentions herself that it’s hard to directly call out sugar and label it as the ultimate wrong-doer. Why? because products containing lots of sugar are usually “complemented” with food dyes, artificial flavors, etc.
This is one reason why nutritionists are now questioning whether or not sugar is actually the substance that can be said to “make children hyperactive.”
Where did the belief that sugar makes children hyperactive originate from? Well, it first began in the 1970s because of a popularized diet for children with ADHD, known as the Feingold diet.
The diet called for the exclusion of artificial flavoring, sweeteners, and preservatives. Consequently, excluding added sugar as well. This diet trend could perhaps be why so many parents believe sugar to be the culprit for their children’s behavior.
In another study that took place in the mid-1990s, researchers were determined to see if this were the case. The researchers gave some children a drink containing a sugar substitute. Directly following this procedure, some parents were told that their kids had consumed a drink high in sugar, while the other parents were told the truth. It was recorded that the mothers who believed their children had consumed sugar rated their children as more hyperactive as a result. Of course, they hadn’t actually had any sugar.
So, why do kids sometimes become hyperactive? It could be because of a rush of adrenaline. After all, kids typically consume the most sugar during celebrations like parties, holidays, get-togethers, etc. when there are usually lots of other kids their age. A special event such as these would definitely account for a rush of adrenaline.
Nevertheless, Jill Castle still recommends that parents at least try eliminating sugar from their child’s diet and test this procedure out in their own home.
Is sugar healthy: No
Is sugar making your child hyperactive?: Maybe, maybe not.