That Sugar Rush is All in Your Head

Are you convinced the reason for your child’s hyperactivity or rowdiness lies in a box of candies? You’re not alone.

We’ve all heard of the “sugar rush.” It’s a vision that prompts parents and even teachers to snatch candy away from kids, fearing they’ll soon be bouncing off the walls, wired and hyperactive.

However, through various experiments and studies over the years, scientists so far haven’t discovered substantial evidence exists to support a connection between sugar and hyperactivity. Most in the medical industry maintain similar consensus. Sugar’s impact on the body isn’t an up-and-down thing. The science is clear: There is no “sugar rush.”

Science first became interested in the link between sugar and hyperactivity when the Feingold Diet became popular in 1973. Devised by allergist Dr. Benjamin Feingold, it advocated the removal of food additives, such as dyes and artificial flavours, from children’s diets because they might lead to hyperactivity. Although this special diet did not originally mention sugar, sugar became grouped under the category of food additives due to the common belief that it affected behaviour.

In a research was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, experts suggest that it’s often the events themselves, like birthdays or Christmas parties, that can be more stimulating for kids.

However this information shouldn’t give kids permission to overindulge. Too much sugar can cause concerns of painful tooth decay, weight gain and obesity, which can also affect children’s well-being as they are more likely to be bullied, have low self-esteem and miss school.”

Kids under the age of two should avoid all added sugar, according to Experts from the World Health Organisation (WHO). For kids older than two, added sugar should represent about 10 per cent of caloric intake, which is roughly six teaspoons.

The average four- to 10-year-old child eats the equivalent of 5,543 sugar cubes a year, which works out to 22 kilograms, Public Health England (PHE) officials said in a release.

“The strong belief of parents [in sugar’s effects on children’s behavior] may be due to expectancy and common association,” Wolraich wrote in the JAMA paper.

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