Sugar-Indused Hyperactivity in Children: Fact or Fiction?

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Ahh, yes, the holidays!  These are wonderful times when your children have mounds of sweet, sugary things at their fingertips.  These are wonderful times filled with the merry laughter of children and the constant sounds of little feet running all through the house all courtesy of…sugar overload???
It’s a wonderful statement that I hear time and again by parents: “the kids are out-of-control, on a sugar-high.”  And I’m sure you’ve heard, or maybe even said, to your kids: “Sorry, Honey, too much candy will just make you hyper.”
While too much sugar and candy is certainly not good for anyone, the idea that sugar will make one hyper is a very persistent myth.  There have been numerous scholarly articles published with many thousands of hours of research involving tens of thousands of participants that conclude that, amazingly enough, there is no link between sugar and hyperactivity.  
Why the persistent misconception?  
I know many moms who, even after reading the research, will insist that the anecdotal evidence from their own children would prove the contrary.  Well, you might be entertained (I was) to know that researchers have found that parents who believe and expect that the sugar their child has ingested will make him or her hyperactive are more likely to perceive that child’s behavior as being hyperactive–whether it is or not.  The parents are primed to expect adverse behavior, react stronger than usual when they do see it, and thus elicit more adverse behavior from the child.  Some call it the “expectancy effect”.  Another reason for this mistaken correlation may be to the fact that excited states in children often occur at events such as birthday parties, holidays, and other festive events where large sugar intake is likely.
So, when your child starts bouncing off the walls this holiday season look for the true cause behind the cacophonous chaos.  Perhaps they need a nap or maybe just some free time out of doors to exercise all their child-like excitement about the wonderful time they are having.

About Amy @ Oh So Savvy Mom

Amy is mom to three, wife to one, and a sister and aunt to many. Her family is a former military family now settled in Lehi, Utah. Oh So Savvy Mom began as a way for Amy to share parenting and product advice with others. Just as she has evolved, Oh So Savvy Mom has evolved into a resource for Healthy Living for Families, Food, Parenting, and Family Travel.


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