Give a child a giant pixie stick and what happens? Many people would say, watch out! Refined (processed/added) sugars may have some effect on children’s activity, according to the National Institutes of Health. Refined sugars enter the bloodstream quickly, so they produce rapid fluctuations in blood glucose levels. This might trigger adrenaline and make a child more active. And falling adrenaline levels may bring on a period of decreased activity and/or a desire for more sugar to kick the level back up to high.
However, research is inconclusive as to whether or not sugar is linked to hyperactivity. Some child may be genetically predisposed to hyperactivity after doses of sugar, while others may not respond in the same way. Scientists also reason that if a special diet of foods with less sugar works for a child, it may be because that family has begun to interact with each other differently when they are following the special diet. These behavioral changes, not the diet itself, may improve the child’s own behavior and activity level.
For every child, there are many reasons to eat whole grains and less sugar. Sugar remains a key cause in tooth decay. High-sugar foods tend to have fewer vitamins and minerals, and may replace more nutritious foods. Also, high-sugar foods have many unnecessary calories that can lead to obesity. Adding fiber to your child’s diet may help to keep adrenaline levels more constant. Check out previous posts on identifying added sugars and improving fiber intake for ideas.