Wednesday, October 23, 2013

We've all heard the rumor "Sugar makes kids hyper." But what is the exact science behind sugar, diet and hyperactivity.

While sugar is often the culprit for out of control kids, recent studies out of the U.K. have also explored the link between food dyes, food coloring, and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). The results determined that reactions in children varied based on their age range. Children at age 3 reacted differently to certain dyes than children at age 8 or 9. Hormone levels, brain maturity and a number of other factors came into play when analyzing the relationship between the dyes and the children's temperament.  Researchers also found that natural based coloring from additives like beta-carotene, grape skin extract and/or saffron produced less dramatic results than synthetic colorings created from chemicals like FD&C Blues No. 1&2.

Sugar tests were less complicated. There is a basic science behind sugar and blood glucose levels. When sugar is consumed those glucose levels rise and can spike when high quantities are digested. These glucose spikes are what doctors warn against when claiming too much sugar can lead to diabetes.

While a child can become more active during the sugar-induced glucose spikes, they are also known to "crash" and become cranky and irritable when coming down from their candy-coated high. Striking a balance with your child's sugar intake is the best way to approach their diet. Cutting sugar out completely is unrealistic and sugar-free substitutes are proven to have even stronger links to cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and a number of other health problems.

If you are attempting to reduce your child's sugar intake be warned that drastic and sudden measures can often come with side effects similar to drug withdrawals. Here are some tips to help you get through a sugar-free transition smoothly:

1) Eliminate refined sugars first.
2) Taper off your sugar intake over several weeks.
3) Respond to cravings with physical activity.
4) Drink lots of water and increase your protein and fiber intake.
5) Rid the house of tempting sugary snacks once you have completed the transition.

As of today there is no scientific evidence that links sugar to the cause of ADHD. However, scientists have advised parents who's children suffer from hyperactivity disorders to eliminate food additives from their diets since they appear to contribute to symptoms.

Have a delicious day!
WebMD Study on Food Dye and ADHD
WebMD Sugar Addiction Slideshow



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