As a parent, you’ve probably heard that children who consume too much sugar will become hyperactive. Your mother has warned you to change your child’s diet. Your friends who do not have children with ADHD, suggest you’re a lousy mother for allowing your child to eat a cookie or two every day, let alone drink a bottle of soda on occasion. After all, aren’t you supposed to be eliminating any cause for his hyperactivity?
With Halloween coming, you’re probably struggling with what to do about the bags of candy already entering your home. What’s a good mother to do?
Well, let’s start by getting the facts straight. First off, *studies show that sugar does not cause hyperactivity. Sugar does not cause ADHD, either. In fact as a woman with ADHD myself, I find that sugar actually calms me down!
What we DO find is an association between social activities involving treats full of sugar and a change in a child’s behavior. What does that mean?
Think about it. When does your child typically consume large quantities of sugar?
– Birthday parties
– Other special occasions
And when do children with ADHD typically become more excitable? Well, read the list above.
So next time someone “helpfully” suggests that you remove all sugars from your child’s diet, remind them that there are no studies that prove that sugar causes hyperactivity. Refer to the references below if you really need some ammunition. And explain that you aren’t about to remove your child from social activities that involve sweets as part of the festivities. That is, unless your child happens to become so overstimulated that it’s best to limit activities that rev him or her up!
Now go enjoy Halloween with your child!
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Wolraich ML, Wilson DB, White JW. The effect of sugar on behavior or cognition in children. A meta-analysis. JAMA . 1995;274:1617-1621.