Old wives tales drive me crazy, especially those associated with kids. No, my child will not get sick from being out in the cold — even with wet hair — her eyes will not stay crossed, and he doesn’t have to wait an hour after eating to go swimming.
Another common misconception is that consuming sugar is a direct cause of hyperactivity. When I first heard that this myth was debunked, I didn’t believe it. I witnessed my children going crazy after eating sugar … how could it not be true?
We Make Connections
We make certain connections with our brains that aren’t there to begin with. The power of suggestion is real! If we see our child eat a cupcake and then grow increasingly silly, we will draw the correlation between the cupcake and the silly behavior.
“We often fail to see the everyday occurrences that likely cause children to be more energetic in the first place: the birthday party itself, the favorite television show, or the excitement of playing with friends,” writes OneMedical.com.
Still, there is evidence to suggest that the Western diet high in sugar, fat, and low in fiber can cause hyperactivity, because children eat processed foods and then suffer from reactive hypoglycemia.
It has actually been 20 years since studies have shown that the perceived effect sugar has on children is false. The analysis was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
- Known quantities of sugar in the diets were studied.
- The studies compared the effects of sugar with those of a placebo (a substance without any active ingredients).
- The children, parents and researchers involved in the studies never knew which children were given which diets (this is known as a “double-blind” study and helps to prevent unconscious biases from affecting the results).
Even with the evidence staring you straight in the face, you may be unwilling to believe that there is zero correlation between sugar and your child’s crazy behavior. If that is so, you may want to take a look at other possibilities for hyperactivity:
- Emotional disturbances
- Learning disorders (such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
- Sleep problems
Regardless of what you believe the problem is, any problem should result in a call to your pediatrician for a full physical before proceeding with any major life changes. Extreme shifts in diet (e.g. eliminating full food groups) can create more harm than good.
Even if this is all in your mind, limiting bad sugars is a good idea. Remember that natural forms of sugar are good for your child: fruits, vegetables and dairy. The sugars that should be avoided are simple, processed sugars: cakes, cookies, soda, and candy.