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Feb 18, 2003 08:36 AM

Antidote for a sugar high?

  • g

We try really hard to keep sugar out of my 11-yr.-old stepson -- it turns a normally sweet thoughtful mellow kid into a bouncing off the walls running at the mouth monster (and inspires parental fantasies of strangulation). He can't be trusted to say no, though, and came home from an afternoon at a friend's house having had Fluffernutter sandwiches & hot cocoa for lunch and all the candy they could manage all afternoon long. He got home just in time to change clothes and go out to dinner with us and the in-laws, and it wasn't until we sat down at the restaurant that we realized what was going on -- he was on an out of control sugar high. We prevented further damage by disallowing the pasta and Sprite he wanted, opting instead for a small steak and ice water, but I'm wondering:

Is there anything you can feed a sugar-overdosed human to bring them down, or is it just a matter of sitting out the bad trip?

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      1. re: GG Mora

        Now is that valium for the parent or the child?

      2. re: AlanH

        Yes. A Valium salt lick kept next to the butter dish should take the anxiety out of mealtimes.

      3. There has been quite a bit of recent evidence that a sugar high in children is not, in fact, true. The link below is just one of the articles available found online regarding this subject. Maybe it just seems that way as most 11 year olds have so much energy a great deal of the time, and they certainly try to consume foods with sugar in them as frequently as they can get away with.


        8 Replies
        1. re: WLA

          All well and good, but witnessing the divide between Thomas and Sugar Thomas suggests otherwise. At the risk of being labeled a contrarian, I'll posit that there are a lot of things that medical research has yet to account for.

          1. re: GG Mora

            Not to mention the article quoted was kind of sketchy. The "doctor" who wrote it quoted "several studies" without actually saying what studies they were or who funded them. Perhaps these were studies by the sugar industry?

            1. re: AlanH

              Here is a better link in terms of the scientific study criteria and the findings on this subject. There are certainly lots of other data on this subject that can be accessed on the web.


              1. re: WLA
                Stanley Stephan

                Oh, please. We can do dueling web searches if you like. Anyone who knows my posts knows I CAN search the web.

                Below is a link that disproves your link.

                I am sorry, I have dealt with the medical community WAY too long to put much stock in the latest theory or study. For every study there's an alternate study.

                I kept my own mother alive a decade longer than doctors would have by telling them that what they were telling me was a buch of hooey. The people who overcome their illnesses often spit in the face of the "current" medical theories.

                Over the past 10 years what do we hear ... coffee is good, coffee is bad ... coffee is good

                alcohol is bad ... alcohol is good ... alcohol is good and bad ...

                Now we find there's some sense that chicken soup IS good for colds. How many years did we hear that that was a myth?

                Need I go on?

                Now a lot of people in this board are into semantics. So magbe it is not "hyperactivity" as such. Maybe as the article below suggests, it is an alergy. Other studies suggest other things. The thing is the kid reacts badly to sugar. Nonsense I say, NONSENSE to the people who say it has to do with exciting events, or emotional this or that. It is a PHYSICAL reaction.

                How many adults haven't grabbed a candy bar for a sugar rush during a long work day?

                I don't have any solutions GG, which is WHAT YOU ASKED FOR, not a lecture. I hope some people will have some iedeas for the original question.

                Have you tried the normal natural stuff that people use to calm down, say a glass of warm milk or cammomile tea? I just don't know. Maybe someone with kids and this probelm had their own solution.

                The link at the end of this article has another study about Studies Show that Diet May Trigger Adverse Behavior in Children.

                Sorry for the rant. But I have been too up close and personal to the medical community to stand in awe of the latest study.


                1. re: Stanley Stephan

                  The alcohol, or coffee or chicken soup studies involve some chemical component of them that when looked at in invitro studies, or animal studies, show that they may have a link to cancer, or some other illness that takes years to develop. Those stories are generally of no use to anyone and simply get picked up by the press because they are sensational and sell papers or magazines.

                  The sugar and hyperactivity studies referred to in this link are done as placebo controlled, double blind studies, and as such, carry a lot more scientific credibility.

                  I do notice that this link refers to "allergies" to sugar, and it is not addressing the hyperactivity or sugar "high" situation that was the original topic of this thread, and which appears to be something of an urban legend at this point.

                  1. re: Stanley Stephan

                    probably a placebo effect. and one that you may be heightening. just food for thought!

              2. re: GG Mora

                Greetings, GG:

                Maybe there's another reason for the hyperactivity: If you discourage sugar and home and he's getting it elsewhere, perhaps it's the lingering excitement from the social interaction, rather than the sugar that's doing him in.

                I was an only child growing up in a child-free rural environment, and my Mom says I got way too excited when I had actually had a playmate. To this day my husband has to tell me to calm down when I get around a crowd of friends.

                As with most things, it's probably a combination of a dozen factors.

                1. re: GG Mora

                  I recall when my daughter was 2 1/2, my mother and I took her to Sea World. At 11 am, we were all flagging, but her energy was completely gone. She was one deflated little child. It was hot, and we were all thirsty. They only had jumbo drinks there, and it wasn't food time yet, so my mother and I had unsweetened tea, and she had a quart of Coke.

                  The transformation was remarkable. While we sat and sipped our tea, she ran laps, like a beagle out for the first time that day.

                  I think that chocolate and caffeine can act as a catalyst for sweet drinks, too.

              3. As for an antidote, I recommend protein. Give the kid some cheese. Chicken breast.

                As a middle school teacher, I have found it really interesting that kids who have been told for years by their parents that sugar makes them hyper believe that they get to BE hyper when they eat sugar. Like, "just wait til second hour Ms Bowen, I ate six spoonfuls of plain sugar for breakfast! I'm going to be bouncing off the walls!" Or, "all I had for lunch was a coke and two bags of skittles, I'm going to be really hyper next hour!" (please note that while this is the true daily nutritional situation of many kids....I do not mean yours!)

                So, while I know from my own response to sugar that there IS something that happens (too much sugar makes me very nervous, which is why I recommend protein), I also think part of it is learned behavior.

                Also learned from parents over the years is that children with ADHD can be hypersensitive to red dye and other food additives. Coffee can help calm some of those same kids.

                Good luck.

                1. Since medical stuff belongs on the Not About Food, please meet me there.