Although excess sugar has been proven to cause obesity and tooth decay, there is no scientific evidence supporting any connection between hyperactivity and sugar consumption. The idea was first officially introduced to the world by Benjamin Feingold. Feingold wrote a popular diet book that contained first-hand accounts of parents who reported certain foods changed the behavior of their children. Studies have shown only that parents who believe sugar will cause hyperactivity in their children will notice the effect. Parents who do not believe in it are much less likely to observe hyperactivity in their children. Some physicians know this and they recommend the children be put on low-calorie diets not for the sake of the children, but for the sake of the parents. If the children are on a low-calorie diet, the parents will not think something is wrong with them, when, in fact, they have been normal the entire time.
Several studies support the conclusion that sugar does not cause hyperactivity. In one study, children ages 3 – 10 whose parents claimed had sugar sensitivity were split into three groups: one high in sugar, one high in aspartame, or one high in saccharin. Aspartame and saccharin are different types of artificial sweeteners, known more popularly as Equal and Sweet’N Low, respectively. The study found no major changes in 39 types of behavior among the children.
Some people mistakenly believe in the hyperactivity connection because of the fact that sugar makes energy readily available to use by the body. However, just because energy is available, it doesn’t give a person an urge to use the energy. Some people blame apparent hyperactivity in children eating sugar is due to environmental factors. Often, situations where a lot of sugar is consumed are celebratory events so the excitement is caused by the celebration and moods of the other people in attendance.
Just because children can’t be made hyperactive by sugar does not mean they should be given sugar with reckless abandon. Obesity and diabetes remain very real disorders caused by overeating sugar. Sugar also highly aggravates the formation of cavities, plaque, and tooth decay.
Posted 4505 day ago