ADHD and Sugar

Sugar has long been suspected to be a culprit behind ADHD symptoms. But research has yet to validate the connection. In at least two studies, children who were given sugar or a sugar substitute behaved no differently in terms of ADHD symptoms. Interestingly, in another study, all the children were given sugar substitutes—but half the mothers were told their kids were getting real sugar. These moms rated their children's behavior as more hyperactive, and were more critical of their kids' behavior, than mothers who were told their kids were getting fake sugar. In a British study, children who ate a "junk food" diet at age 4 1/2 were more likely to have behavioral problems at age 7 than kids whose diets were healthier.

  • Scientists aren't sure what causes ADHD.
  • Studies are currently looking at environmental factors, including how nutrition, brain injuries, the environment, and childrens' social worlds affects them.
  • There's no research to show that sugar has any effect on ADHD symptoms.
  • It's possible that children with ADHD are sensitive to food additives and coloring but not to sugar, since most sugary foods also contain these artificial ingredients.
  • Some children will outgrow their ADHD symptoms.
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