Sugar Does Not Make Kids Hyper

Today I found out that sugar does not make kids hyper.  In fact, it has been proven in numerous studies that it doesn’t affect their behavior at all.

In one such study, it was found that mothers who think their kids have been given sugar (even though their kids haven’t been given any), will almost always say their kids are acting hyper.  On the flip-side, if they think their kids haven’t been given sugar (even if they have in actuality), they will almost always say their kids are acting normal; even though in both cases there is no actual discernible difference of behavior being observed between the two.  It’s almost all in the parent’s head. 🙂

“Almost”, you say?  Interestingly, if the child believes they have been given sugar and they believe that sugar will make them hyper, some children will act more hyper.  But this again is all in their head.  If they believe they haven’t been given sugar, even though they’ve been given loads, these kids will report no change in how they feel and will act normal.  If they are given no sugar, but they think they’ve been given lots of sugar, they will often report feeling a “sugar rush” and act hyper.  This is more or less just the mysterious placebo effect in action on a small percentage of these kids.

SugarOn the other hand, caffeine will absolutely make a good percentage of kids hyper.  So while many parents attribute the hyperactivity in kids that often follows drinking a lot of soda as being caused by sugar, it is actually generally the caffeine doing the work.

In the end though, excessive amounts of processed sugars is bad for kids (and adults too!), in a variety of ways.  Best to stay away from them as much as possible outside of natural sugars found in fruits and the like; pro-tip: corn syrup = bad too. 😉  Although, according to recent medical studies, it’s not entirely clear yet whether corn syrup is worse for you than sugar, but it is clear that both are pretty bad for you at the levels most people eat on a daily basis, moderation of course being the key for healthy in-take in both cases.

On the other hand, maybe it’s best to just not eat anything at all; probably the best way to avoid eating unhealthy things 🙂

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  • Six

    Too much sugar will, on the other hand, make many kids fat.

  • MAP

    not sure what kinda sugar the researchers used. i know of 2 kinda of sugar available in market – made from corn and made from sugar cane. I have kids and frankly think they are more active(maybe because they are happy) when they eat sugary treats

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  • jazz

    This is sooo not true as a mom of 3 I know that sugar and corn syrup turn my children into little devils. Perhaps the children that they are testing are not sugar sensitive, try to take that sugar away from those kids and see how emotional they become.

  • Adriana

    I believe this is true. Once on a girls birthday she handed out cookies. The kid sitting next to me began acting hyper after eating his. Mine worked kind of like an anti-depressant, blocking sadness. After a few minutes of his acting I glared him in the eye and told him to stop. He stopped instantly.

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  • There was a study done which bears this out. I don’t know if it can be linked to because it was shown on TV, but a bunch of kids were at a party and were given high sugar foods to eat before watching a magic show, and all the parents were convinced their children’s needless dietary restrictions had been followed. The next week, the same kids were given low sugar organic foods before having a disco, and all the parents were convinced that their children had been given lots of sugar. It just goes to show that most kids’ activity levels are more likely down to circumstances rather than what they’ve eaten.

  • Bob

    What?!?! Sometimes I eat sugar, but instead of it making me hyper, it makes me sleepy. Good, if you ask me.