Death of the sugar monster
If sugar doesn’t affect our kids, does that mean they’re just brats?
(Shawn Benjamin)
It’s something I live by: children plus large amounts of sugar equals chaos. But apparently this truth is not one at all. A study published in the British Medical Journal looked at years of research into the effect of sugar on children and found that it makes no difference. Not one of the 12 studies proved that children behave worse on a sugary diet. The only thing proved was that parents EXPECT their children to behave worse when given a sugary drink.

This is good news in a way. No more do I have to wrestle my youngest away from the sweetie bowl on Christmas day. No more family strife when my nephew who has never seen sweets in his life gets hold of the Quality Street. Let them eat sweets, they will not become wild sugar monsters who run around the house screaming “Toffeeeeees!” and stomping on the corns of elderly aunts.

Now that sugar is off the hook once and for all, it’s seductive properties could be exploited. Presumably these children should still be given a decent diet with proper nutrition as well, so maybe we can now introduce a lucrative line of candy-covered Brussel sprouts and chocolate-dipped leeks. Or simply go back to the happy tradition of sprinkling brown sugar on everything from carrots to pumpkin.

But hold on. There is one question that remains.

If sugar is not to blame for the transformation of children at parties, why do they suddenly become crazy maniacs? And don’t tell me it doesn’t happen – I have witnessed many outbreaks of Niknak fights which at the time were ascribed to sugar overload. There was also the occasion when Butch (not his real name) hit Jethro (not his real name) over the head with a rather expensive and hard plastic Buzz Lightyear (his real name). His mother assured me that Butch is usually very sweet but sugar brings out his dark side.

I can only conclude that inside these normally docile children there is this monster that emerges at parties. Not because it is fuelled by sugar, but because parents expect it to. Yes, we are to blame. AGAIN!

Why do you think children act like hooligans at parties? Do you think sugar has an effect on behaviour?

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