Monday, August 8, 2016

Sugar Causes Hyperactivity In Children: Or Does It?

Pseudoscience can be found in every culture.  Any claim that cannot be backed up by scientific research, or replicated under controlled conditions, free of bias, is considered pseudoscience.  One common belief which Lawson, (2007), points out as being a “pseudoscientific approach to parenting”, is that sugar consumption causes hyperactivity in children.  Many parents continue to agree with this myth, despite scientific results having disproved it years ago.  It has also been well documented that added sugar in any diet, increases the incidence of dental cavities, obesity, and diabetes (Huynh, 2010).   Hyperactivity after sugar consumption by children is a common belief which has been handed down by at least one generation of parents, and many parents have their own accounts of this children’s hyperactivity after a sugary treat.  Where did the myth originate?   According to Regalado, (1999), In 1973, an allergist named Benjamin Feingold, MD., published the Feingold Diet.  His findings suggested that a diet that was additive free was helpful in treating children with hyperactivity.  Although sugar per say, was not targeted as the causative factor of hyperactivity, it was suggested that children’s diets should be free of added sugars.  The fact that parents neglect to notice that usually children are in large groups, such as birthday parties, and Halloween trick-or-treating while they are eating all that sugar and those environments are conducive to, “kids gone wild”.   This struck a chord with me because I was one of those pseudoscience approach parents.  How strong, the power of suggestion is; that we only see what is in agreement with our preconceived notions.


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