Two Pieces on Child Nutrition

They both debunk a few myths. From the Wall Street Journal:

Researchers found the proportions of eighth graders who said they had access to and purchased sugary drinks were about the same in states that banned only soda (67% and 29%) and those that had no policy at all (67% and 26%).

This is further evidence that any restriction you make to your eating habits needs to be analyzed in terms of what sorts of substitutes are available.  This is true whether or not you’re making the restrictions or someone else is. 

Here’s a slightly contrarian take on sugar consumption

Let’s cut to the chase: sugar doesn’t make kids hyper. There have been at least twelve trials of various diets investigating different levels of sugar in children’s diets.  That’s more studies than are often done on drugs. None of them detected any differences in behavior between children who had eaten sugar and those who hadn’t.  These studies included sugar from candy, chocolate, and natural sources.  Some of them were short-term, and some of them were long term. Some of them focused on children with ADHD. Some of them even included only children who were considered “sensitive” to sugar. In all of them, children did not behave differently after eating something full of sugar or something sugar-free.

My only point of contention is that while the studies he cites are good (double blind placebos), they don’t account for individual genetic variation, which can have large effects on how someone responds to an ingredient. 

All the same, food for thought.


2 thoughts on “Two Pieces on Child Nutrition”

  1. Round ups of other studies are only useful if they carefully separate good from bad, and the different conclusions each one reaches. I think throwing them all into a pile and saying “Yeah, they more or less say this” is a bit of a cop out. I didn’t read the papers quoted in the article, but I can’t imagine they were all of the same quality. While I wouldn’t be surprised if a portion of his conclusion is correct, a lot of evidence has come out that suggests yes, sugar really is very bad for you.


  2. GR, the studies he cites are all pretty good. They’re double blind and placebo controlled. Also, saying sugar doesn’t cause hyperactivity in children doesn’t eliminate the other bad effects of sugar….obesity, funky metabolic systems, etc, just that sugar, *all by itself* doesn’t change your activity levels.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s