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Friday, December 19, 2008

Sugar Makes Kids Hyperactive

Friday's Urban Legend: False

From 6 Medical Myths Debunked For Christmas.
This is without a doubt false, report Dr. Vreeman and Dr. Carroll, who are both pediatricians at Riley Hospital for Children. They write that "in at least 12 double-blinded, randomized, controlled trials, scientists have examined how children react to diets containing different levels of sugar. None of these studies, not even studies looking specifically at children with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, could detect any differences in behavior between the children who had sugar and those who did not." This includes sugar from candy, chocolate and natural sources. Even in studies of children who were considered "sensitive" to sugar, children did not behave differently after eating sugar-full or sugar-free diets.


  1. It's funny - I never heard that particular myth when I was a child, and I had no memory of ever experiencing anything of the sort, so I always had my doubts about it.

    It always seemed to me that the parents say something about it, and then the children responded as they were told they should. But I could never separate that hypothesis from the alternative that I don't pay enough attention to children's behaviour.

  2. It doesn't have anything to do with a "sugar-full or sugar-free diet". It has to do with a child on a regular diet who suddenly encounters a whole pile of sugar (think Halloween candy).

  3. Well of course these are the results they'd get -- the placebos in the control group were sugar pills!