Hyperactivity And Sugar
Over 10 scientific studies have shown that eating sugar doesn't increase hyperactivity or decrease attention span. If any thing, following a large intake of sugar, children tend to be drowsy and less active.
The harmful aspect of forbidding all sugars is that you have created an unnecessary battleground. A sugar embargo is perceived as unfair and it's impossible to monitor outside the home.
Our main concern about focusing on diets for hyperactivity is that diets tend to steer parents away from other interventions that do have proven benefits. If you have your child on a diet, be sure to also have him evaluated by the special education team at his school, so that he can receive extra help for his learning problem. Also, continue to read and play games with him, since these are definitely helpful for stretching the attention span.
Finally, if you still suspect your child overreacts to refined sugar, keep him off of it for 3 days. Then give him some. Within the next 2 or 3 hours you will see a dramatic change in his behavior if he is a sugar-reactor. If not, you can stop worrying about sugar.
If you have any questions about poor attention span, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.