Is there a link between eating sugary foods and being unable to control your impulses? I'm thinking about kids, elementary school age in particular. I've read everything I can online, but am looking for personal experience, advice from someone who has been there, done that... any thoughts?
Read "Sugar Blues". I've been studying human nutrition for more than 30 years. There is a definite link between refined sugar and behaviour, brain function, hormone function, and cell's overall ability to assimilate nutrients. If you can think of all food as being broken down into simple sugars, it will help. The body only uses glucose. This is the simplest form into which food is broken down. It's why you get the glucose drip in the hospital, although that may have meds in it as well. Whole food contains nutrients which the body needs to maintain cell equilibrium which in turn supplies the body with everything it needs from brain function to nerve function to sensory function, and so on. Refined products essentially shoot right to the bloodstream without the benefit of any nutrient whatsoever. This will create a nutrient deficit effecting all aspects of behavior.
My family has a long history of ADD, ADHD, and now BiPolar, the latest in the wave of disorders which are being tagged onto kids. The problem is in the food. If the brain doesn't have what it needs, it can go in any direction without control. If you are talking about impulses such as bad, disruptive, or mischievious behavior, eliminate ALL refined products from the diet, make sure there is an adequate amount of protein relative to body size and activity level, eat plenty of essential fats with every meal (fats help metabolize protein), and eat healthy whole carbohydrates like whole fruit, vegetables, potatoes, completely whole grain bread. Stay away from juice as a snack. Drink juice after the meal so there is other food to slow down the sugar. Make sure kids get a multi vitamin/mineral supplement. Read your labels and watch out for anything that is an undefined 'flavoring' or 'spice' as these could be MSG, chemical flavorings or colorings, all of which have been proven to cause behavioral problems in children.
Even hormonal fluctuations are improved when refined sugar is eliminated.
You might find this paper helpful, I think you can get it online but if not, perhaps via your public library: Mysterud, I. & Poleszynski, D.V. (2003). Expanding evolutionary psychology: toward a better understanding of violence and aggression. Social Science Information 42, 5-50.
I has a review section about processed food and hyperglycemia in relation to impulsivity and violence.
I know you said you had read lots on this already but in the UK there was an interesting programme on this recently and these links relate to that:
http://www.channel4.com/programmes/jo-f … n-on-sugar
http://hubpages.com/hub/Sugar-Does-it-M … yperactive
I have two boys - age 3 and 5 - personally I find that the occassion rather than the sugar has a much greater effect. For example, they can be hyper at our Sunday family meal when my very large family all get together and they play rough-and-tumble with their uncles - they are going mad long before they have a sugary treat after dinner.
A friends kids came to play recently and her son was really showing off in a typical 'boy' way. She commented that he couldn't help it because he wasn;t used to sugary drinks - actually the drinks I provided were sugar-free and free from colors, etc etc. He was showing off because he was five and he had an audience - not because of sugar!.
However, if my brothers ever let my boys drink coke I do say they cannot be held responsible for their actions - but I think that is the caffeine - I really do not let them have that often.
Yes, I saw the Jo Frost programme. I think it's right about kids being hyperactive due to the occasion rather than the sugar- I mean, my son can eat lots of chocolate and sit on the sofa and read a book, but then if he goes to a party or something he is pretty wired up and excitable.
The programme did reiterate that certain additives in sweets have ben proven to cause hyperactivity, but this is nothing to do with the sugar. My son hates sweets and fizzy drinks though, so cannot comment there.
Oh I didn't realise at first that that was my hub you'd linked to
"My son hates sweets and fizzy drinks though, so cannot comment there." - mother's like you drive me nuts - Just kidding, my kids could eat their own body weight in chocolate, then wash it all down with 2 litres on lemonade! - obviously I don't let them....but if my brothers get the chance (3blokes in their 20s) they find this to be great entertainment
Did you see I put up your hub Polly - you are now an authority on this.
My oldest son is very picky and just can't bear sweets, his friends all try and persuade him to eat some but he really can't bear them! I am lucky in that way I guess, but he is a chocoholic who would eat it all day if given the chance!
Mind you, my youngest who is 2.5 tried some sweets after trick or treating the other week and he didn't like them either - do you think they are normal?!
Absolutely, on all counts. It's important to note the difference between typical, age-related, male or female play hyperactivity and disruptive behaviour which cannot be controlled by the child even after being reprimanded. Some children tolerate sugar better than others and it's possible that some 'bad' behaviors are just tolerated by some parents. It's all relative to our lifestyles. The bottom line is this: If the behaviour is disruptive and cannot be controlled when the child is asked to do so, there is a misfunction in body chemistry which, more times than not, can be corrected by proper nutrition. Sometimes, it's a lack of something, rather than too much of something else, like B vitamins, for example, which edify the nervous system, or fatty acids which help cognitive function. Try process of elimination with your kid. He'll whine but always have a whole food substitute for whatever it might be you're taking away.
Thank you, everyone, for your comments. I've been off to New Orleans for a spell and not in constant internet contact. I apologize for not replying sooner. We already avoid HFCS, dyes, preservatives and go with organic whenever possible. If it weren't for holidays and school, the poor kid wouldn't have any fun at all. I will be reading your suggestions, starting with Sugar Blues. Thanks again!
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