Sugar: Does It Really Make Kids Hyper?
DeeDee Brown of Richmond, Virginia, was looking for anything that might explain her daughter's meltdowns. "Normally, Chloe's calm and happy," says Brown. "But there were times when she'd fall apart -- screaming and yelling and so angry that nothing I said or did could console her." Just the terrible twos? Overtiredness? Playing with certain friends? Brown ruled out the possibilities one by one till she made the connection.
"Once a week, we'd go to the bank, where Chloe would get a lollipop. An hour later, she'd be a complete emotional mess." Brown noticed the same pattern after cookie binges and birthday parties. "I should have known," she says in hindsight. "I get cranky after eating sugar. I just didn't think about my child having the same issue."
Lick the Sugar Habit. The New Sugar Busters! Little Sugar Addicts. Good Carbs, Bad Carbs. A slew of new books would have us blame sugar for everything from behavioral problems to skyrocketing rates of childhood obesity and diabetes. Yet babies come into the world with a sweet tooth (nature's way of drawing them to breast milk), so you may wonder, how could an occasional lollipop or cupcake be so detrimental?
Is sugar really poison -- or a harmless part of childhood?
For all the hype on both sides of the controversy, the truth may surprise you. Pediatricians and nutritionists agree: In modest amounts, sugar can have a healthful place in a child's diet (or an adult's). But many kids get too much, too often. Worse, sugar-rich foods tend to be full of empty calories and often displace the nutritious foods children need. A recent landmark study of more than 3,000 infants and toddlers found that close to half of 7- to 8-month-olds are already consuming sugar-sweetened snacks, sodas, and fruit drinks, a percentage that increases dramatically with age.