Busting the Sugar-Hyperactivity Myth
Are you convinced the reason for your son or daughter's rowdiness lies in a box of Milk Duds? You're not alone.
Expectations Can Affect Perceptions
In spite of this research, why do so many parents still believe sugar makes
children hyperactive? Some researchers suggest that simply expecting sugar to
affect your child can influence how you interpret what you see. A study
published in the August 1994 Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology showed
that parents who believe a child's behavior is affected by sugar are more
likely to perceive their children as hyperactive when they've been led to
believe the child has just had a sugary drink.
As parents, your observations are important, and any concerns you have about
your child?s diet should be explored carefully and discussed with your
pediatrician. There is often much more to the story of a child's hyperactivity
than the Frosted Flakes he eats for breakfast every morning. Some factors
associated with hyperactivity include:
- Emotional disturbances
- Learning disorders (such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
- Sleep problems
Still Not Convinced?
If after looking at everything else in your child?s life you still feel food
is causing an adverse reaction, your first step should be to consult with your
child?s doctor. Extreme approaches, such as eliminating whole groups of foods,
can do more harm than good. After giving your child a complete physical and
studying his history, your doctor may refer you to a nutritionist or an
allergist -- or you might seek one out on your own.