A reader writes:

"Another myth bites the dust." Not quite.  As I argued in the comments of the linked article, the studies listed there only show that the idea of sugar sensitivity is overblown in the population, and that sugar sensitivity is not observed in the majority of the population.  Majority being the key word.  In fact, one of the studies' authors says in a related paper: "However, a small effect of sugar or effects on subsets of children cannot be ruled out."

It may very well be a real effect in a sizable number of children. How many kids in the US?  60 million?  If only 1% of kids have a sensitivity, the effect would not appear in these studies.  But it sure would be wrong to tell those 600,000 parents that they are imagining things, that it's all in their head, no?

A parent writes:

"Sugar doesn't make kids hyper"? Like hell it doesn't.

When my son was about eighteen months old, we let him have some sherbet for dessert. Two hours later, he still was running around in circles, screeching "Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" like a little air-raid siren. There was no birthday party, no circus, no clowns, no television – just a little high-pitched blur lapping our living room every five seconds.

Now, in contrast we have found that *large* quantities of sugar have a sedative effect. The same child at about age nine ate what seemed like his weight in pasta, two rolls, a pint of orange juice, all followed by a huge freaking slice of chocolate ganache cake. He had engaged most of the adults at the table in conversation, and was monologuing at high speed when he crashed and did a face plant in his now-empty plate. My husband and father-in-law took him outside and walked him around to try to rouse him. (He promptly locked himself in a closed revolving door, but that's a story for another day.)


I once let my three-year-old daughter have her way with her small Easter basket. What a mistake. That night she was in her twin bed crying out for me to keep the flies away from her. Like she was tripping on some kind of drug. I spent that night lying next to her (as best I could being eight months pregnant) and trying to convince her that she was dreaming about flies and that they were not real. She may or may not have been hyper during the day (don't remember) but she was certainly hyper at night. From then on I had tighter control over her exposure to sugary things and this horrible night was never repeated. Moderation in everything, please.

Another flags a compelling link:

This is the reason people think sugar makes kids hyper. Food dyes. Birthday cake frosting is loaded with it. Kids get hyper at birthday parties. You know what else has it? Infant Tylenol. It made my kids act like they were on cocaine. It's mostly banned in Europe. (For example, European M&M’s don’t have red dye in it.)