Sugar: Does it cause ADHD?

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Sugar: Does it cause ADHD?

Question

Can sugar cause ADHD in children?

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Answer

A popular dietary approach to treating attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) calls for eliminating refined sugars. But there's no evidence that sugar causes ADHD or that diet has any consistent effect on the signs and symptoms of ADHD. The exact cause of ADHD isn't well understood. But it may be related to altered brain function or heredity.

Many parents have observed a brief surge in energy in their children after a sugary treat. But numerous studies have shown that children don't react to sugar. Instead, this increase in activity may be due to the excitement of getting a treat or to the carbohydrate boost the treat provides. It's important to note that "hyperactive" behavior is not the same as ADHD, which is a medical condition that is diagnosed based on certain criteria.

Last Updated: 06/01/2005
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