The topic of ADHD and sugar has been a compelling subject debated amongst exerts since the idea was put for by Dr. Benjamin Feingold in the 1980's. Many studies have been conducted to confirm this assumption with no compelling results either way; until recently. New refined brain imaging tests have proven that sugar plays a dramatic role in the ADHD primary symptom of hyperactivity. The surprising part of the positron emission tomography was that not only did sugar promote hyperactivity but other common ADHD symptoms as well.
The study conducted by N.L. Girardi, School of Medicine at Yale University compared the effects that glucose exhibited on both ADHD and non-ADHD children. In this study the children were given the equivalent of the amount of sugar which would be ingested from a breakfast consisting of a sweet role, an 8oz glass or orange juice, and a cup of coffee with two teaspoons of sugar. Both test groups showed the expected rise in blood glucose levels within the first 30 minutes. No so intriguing thus far! Well stay with me, here is where it gets interesting. Three hours after the meal was ingested tests were administered to each group. The results showed that the children with ADHD dramatically under performed. Even more interesting was that they showed an increase in physical activity consisting of rapid movements and fidgeting. So, why did this happen?
The conclusion was that the ADHD children became more active in an attempt to increase the levels of the fight or flight hormone (norepinephrine) to boost their waning brain activity. This activity took on the form of hyperactive behavior. This may explain the description of ADHD children as being continually driven by a motor.
Most parents and teachers see the anecdotal evidence regularly that suggests a link between hyperactivity and sugar. After all these years it is good to finally see this issue being put to rest so that helpful treatment plans can be developed which take into account the detrimental effects sugar/glucose has on ADHD children.
Additionally, many parents are combining the reduction of simple sugars in their children diets with natural ADHD remedies such as homeopathy. Homeopathic remedies for ADHD are very safe and have been shown to be effective in relieving such common symptoms as hyperactivity, inattention, and distractibility in children. This approach may be an option worth considering especially if you are seeking a safe alternative to prescription drugs such as Ritalin.