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Sugar Hype: Unmasking the Myth of Hyperactivity

Sugar Hype: Unmasking the Myth of Hyperactivity
Sugar Hype: Unmasking the Myth of Hyperactivity

Parents have long blamed their children’s hyperactive behavior on eating too much sugar, but experts say there’s no truth to it.

“It’s a myth that sugar causes hyperactivity,” says Mark Wolraich, professor emeritus in developmental and behavioral pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Yet, he acknowledges, “it’s still a strong belief. … Sometimes it’s very hard to change embedded impressions of what affects behavior.”

Wolraich conducted studies in the 1990s that disproved the notion that sugar causes attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. These included a double-blind randomized controlled trial that found that neither sugar nor the artificial sweetener aspartame affected behavior or cognitive function among children whose parents perceived them as high energy “sugar sensitive,” compa

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