Sugar Does Not Make Children Hyper

May 7, 2012 at 7:00 pm 10 comments

By Chad Upton | Editor

I’ve only been a dad for a few weeks, so I can’t provide any anecdotal evidence on this one. Thankfully, a much more scientific source is available. The British Medical Journal has published a study that concludes: sugar does not make children hyperactive.

Of course, we’ve all heard this myth. There are even some parents who give their kids pixie stix, hoping it will give them more energy:

However, the results from at least 12 double blind randomized controlled trials have shown that there is no noticeable difference in a child’s behavior regardless of how much sugar they have consumed. Even kids who are considered “sensitive” to sugar or have attention-deficit/hyperactive disorder are not more hyper after consuming sugar.

There does appear to be a placebo effect though. The study indicated parents do rate their children as more hyperactive after their child has consumed what appears to be a sugary drink, even if the drink was in fact sugar free.

That’s food for thought.

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Source: British Medical Journal

Entry filed under: Despite Popular Belief. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Elbyron  |  May 8, 2012 at 11:18 am

    I love that the placebo effect applied to the parents, not the children who were the ones actually given the sample beverage!

  • 2. ben  |  May 9, 2012 at 3:09 am


  • 3. Katie  |  May 9, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Congrats! And thanks for the info. Sounds like water for my (very very distant) future kids.

  • 4. meshyalah  |  May 9, 2012 at 10:46 am

    It’s not SUGAR (if its real) its High Fructose Corn Syrup! Which most candy is made from now-a-days. My son is ADD and has effects for days. Sometimes the effects are not instant, but there is a difference in his behavior. I can tell ya its not placebo effect cuz sometimes I don’t know know he’s had HFCS but after eliminating all other outside factors we can trace behavior differences back to diet.

    • 5. Andrew  |  May 16, 2012 at 6:23 pm

      High Fructose Corn Syrup is used only in USA, in Europe I never saw it. I am from Europe

      • 6. Gretta  |  June 7, 2013 at 3:11 am

        It exists in Canada as well, just under the name “glucose-fructose”. I try to steer clear of all sugar in any form, “-ose”. This article only speaks about hyperactivity, it doesn’t speak of blood glucose levels at all. Blood glucose levels are the important part. High levels are hard on your body and they will later result in a crash, which can involve headaches, body aches, fatigue, irritability, as well as many other negative symptoms.

  • 7. Bekah  |  May 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    I was never a big believer in the sugar hype. My kids never acted any differently after consuming sugar and I never did either. So thanks for giving me something I can hold on to, something I can share with others who are skeptical.
    And congrats on the baby!! Babies are great!

  • 8. Lobogdan Popdan  |  May 18, 2012 at 1:22 am

    Yup, sugar is definitely not the culprit. It’s all the other chemicals, HFCS being chief among them, that causes all the problems.

  • 9. Ago  |  May 29, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Congrats Daddy! Just wait until your little one starts begging for Smarties (Canadian one’s) after a pee-pee on the potty! You tell me if it’s a placebo. CRAZY!

  • 10. tiara  |  June 3, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    maybe kids just like to dash and run about?
    why doe toddlers and tiaras mums force their kids to stand still? this is cruel
    let them at leats be kids and run about! they need to empty their batterys
    you wouldnt restrict a doigs movement like that why do it to your kids?


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