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Does Your Child Suffer From Sugar Highs?

By Randi Morse

The other night my 15-year-old daughter used a package mix to make a mocha frappe. It wasn't very long afterward that she was literally bouncing around our kitchen like a kangaroo saying that she had far too much energy. It reminded me of when my children were little and I would dread them going to a birthday party because I knew they would come home with the sugar high, which inevitably led to a sugar crash. But it turns out that sugar highs aren't actually a real thing at all.

Sugar High

Have you ever been around a young child when they have returned home from a birthday party? Many children seemed almost feral after spending hours with their friends gorging on cake and ice cream. In the 1970s, this led some researchers to believe that a sugar high was to blame for the excessive amount of energy children returned home with. They believe that high sugar diets actually made the insulin level of the child rise significantly, which then made the body produce an excessive amount of adrenaline causing the hyperactive child.

The Reality

Researchers from the New England Journal of Medicine decided, back in 1994, to determine if children were actually getting sugar highs or not. The children that they recruited all had parents who claimed that their kids were extremely sensitive to sugar and were prone to sugar highs. The researchers fed the kids all similar foods. Neither the parents nor the kids knew which children were getting the foods that had artificial sweeteners and which ones were getting the food that had traditional sugar. The researchers then studied the children's behavior as well as their urine to see if there was any evidence that proved that sugar adversely affected a child's actions.

The study found that sugar does not affect children's behavior. Why, then, do some children return home from a birthday party a hyperactive mess? The answer has more to do with what the children were doing than what they were eating. When children go to birthday parties they are engaging in loud, continuous activities with peers who are their own age. It is this time they are spending with their friends that causes the excessive amount of hyperactivity and energy that they return home with. Though this means it's fine to allow your child to occasionally ingest sugar, there is no way to prevent your child from bouncing off the walls when they return home from a party.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Orange Park, Fla.

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