Does Sugar Make Them Hyper?

sugarWe know we’re going to take a lot of abuse over this one, but it’s our responsibility as professionals to give you the straight facts as we know them. Sugar and other simple carbs in large amounts do NOT make children hyper. At least nine well-respected medical studies have found no association between sugar intake and behavior.

“There is elegant research demonstrating that sugar is not at all related to inattention or hyperactivity,” says Mina Dulcan, MD, head of child and adolescent psychiatry at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

Instead, experts believe the settings where children typically eat lots of sugary treats are likely to be the cause of the behavior changes that all parents can describe. Birthday parties, celebrations, family gatherings, and other occasions where lots of children are together in a fun and exciting atmosphere are also the places kids tend to eat lots of junk. In other words, it’s the party, not the sugar.

Of course this doesn’t mean that lots of sugar is a good thing for children or anyone else. It provides tons of empty calories with no nutritional value whatsoever. Zero. Zip. Nada. It rots your teeth and doesn’t satisfy your appetite for very long. It makes you crave more sugar. But it doesn’t make Tommy run around in circles and jump on the couch.

So don’t believe us, check out what the American Academy of Pediatrics has to say and then go ahead and limit the sugar in their diets for all those other reasons.

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Ellen and Rachel are two old friends and “expert” mamas—one a pediatrician and one a family therapist—with fifty years of parenting experience between them.

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One response to “Does Sugar Make Them Hyper?”

  1. elefeminate

    OK. So sugar may not make children noticeably hyper. But it surely makes my older daughter and my niece unconsoleably upset about two hours later. The entire family has observed this phenomena. Just give them sweets and two hours later there will be tears, angst and drama for no apparent reason. I know when my daughter has been given sweets at school because a crazy girl gets off the bus at the end of the day. However, my other daughter does not react this way.

    I have heard that this happens to some other children. Have doctors done any studies on the hyper-insulin related sugar crash that occurs hours after ingestion? That’s what I want to hear about because I know it to be true!

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The Mama ButtonThe information provided by MamasOnCall is not intended as a substitute for professional advice, but is for information purposes only. You assume full responsibility for the health and well-being of your family. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical or psychiatric condition.