ADHD and sugar is a huge topic of debate between parents of children with ADHD who have seen the effects of sugar on their kids, and doctors and scientists who say that sugar has no effect on children one way or the other. The fact is that all the scientific evidence is inconclusive either way. Sugar may or may not have a real effect on children with ADHD, but it’s probably better to be safe than sorry, as a low-sugar diet is good for general health, at any rate.
What Sugar Does
You’ve probably already heard that sugar is simply empty calories. This means that eating sugar fills up your calorie quota for the day without adding any vital nutrients and vitamins to your body. In an age of childhood obesity, this alone should be enough to cause you to steer your child away from consuming large amounts of sugar.
Further than this, though, sugar actually leaches nutrients from the body because it takes so many nutrients and vitamins to process it. This may link ADHD and sugar intake because many people are beginning to believe that ADHD is caused or exacerbated by nutritional deficits in a child’s diet. If this is the case, eating more sugar may cause an even higher deficiency in nutrients, causing ADHD symptoms or making them worse.
ADHD and sugar have also been linked because many children with ADHD do not metabolize sugar properly. Even people who process sugar normally can experience blood sugar rushes and crashes after a high-sugar, mostly-carbohydrate meal, and the effects of sugar can be even stronger in ADHD children.
What This Means for Your Child
As has been stated, the actual scientific evidence linking ADHD and sugar is inconclusive. Most studies have shown that sugar doesn’t cause hyperactivity, but some studies have proven that high sugar intake can make it more difficult for a child to concentrate, which could, in turn, exacerbate other ADHD symptoms, as a child who isn’t concentrating is likely not to listen to directions and to generally run a little wild.
The good news is that unlike many other nutritional problems that may contribute to your child’s ADHD, you can easily control his or her sugar intake. This is, in fact, one of the first recommended alternative methods of treatment for ADHD.
Another treatment option that seems to be at the forefront of available treatments is homeopathic remedies. A good homeopathic remedy can be just as effective as an ADHD prescription drug, without the harmful side effects. It can regulate the chemicals in your child’s brain, allowing your child to be able to focus and concentrate better. Controlling how much sugar your child eats along with placing him on a homeopathic remedy may be just the safe, natural ADHD cure you’re looking for.
To control your child’s sugar intake, start small. Don’t try to strip her of all her favorite foods in one day. Instead, slowly cut out those treats with the highest sugar content and replace them with healthier alternatives. For instance, replace a sugary breakfast cereal with a bowl of creamy oatmeal sweetened with honey. You can also try new recipes for cookies and candies that involve less sugar.
Since ADHD and sugar haven’t yet been linked in most scientific studies, there’s no way to know just what effect a low-sugar diet will have on your ADHD child. But because of the effects of sugar on the body in general, trying to eliminate sugary items from your fridge and pantry will make your whole family happier and healthier.