Mon Oct 29 2007
Could the sugar high be just a myth?
Many parents are likely to disagree, but we still recommend taking a look at today’s Los Angeles Times. In lieu of Halloween, it has included a lengthy roundup of the various studies that have sought to prove the existence of sugar-induced hyperactivity. As much as candy-hysteria seems to be a real phenomenon (not to mention a reason to limit a kid’s access to the candy stash), most studies found no significant evidence.
A 1994 study in The New England Journal of Medicine found no difference in hyperness between kids who were given a high-sugar diet and kids who were given Aspartame (the active ingredient in Nutrasweet and Equal) instead. A 12-study review in 1996’s Critical Reviews in Food Science found no negative effects of sugar on the behavior of normal children. A 2006 study in Human Psychopharmacology that gave healthy adults either a sugar-laden energy drink or sugar-free drink found that more sugar didn’t result in a peak of energy, but rather more sluggishness. And this isn’t even a complete list.
Give us all the science in the world, but isn’t watching a toddler bounce on the living room couch with a frenzied look in his eyes evidence enough? According to the Times, our observations of “sugar highs” could be the product of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Kids could simply be excited about Halloween, or parents might be unnecessarily looking for signs of hyperness.
True or not, letting kids roam the town with pumpkin-shaped baskets is a tradition most of us wouldn’t want to take away (no matter how much we whine about a potential Starburst overload). That’s why we’re interested in seeing who will show up to the Bear Naked Halloween Candy Exchange on Thursday. Held at Union Square from 1-6pm, the event gives a chance for families to turn in their just-acquired treats for free bags of Bear Naked granola. The goal is noble (preventing childhood obesity) but we wonder how many kids could be talked into this activity on the unofficial candy holiday? We know we'd be having none of that when we were kids!