Does sugar make kids hyperactive?

No. Although many believe that sugar can lead to hyperactivity and other behavioural problems in children, several comprehensive scientific reviews have concluded that no evidence exists to link sugar intake to hyperactivity in normal children or those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Researchers have suggested that occasional bouts of excess energy among healthy children may be linked to the excitement associated with special activities like parties, holiday celebrations and recess, not the sweets or other foods served at these events.

Can you be "addicted" to certain foods?

The pleasures of eating certain foods, such as those containing sugar, should not be confused with the term “addiction”. Humans naturally prefer the taste of sweetness. In fact, the preference for a sweet taste is present from birth; breastmilk is sweet due to its lactose content.

Enjoying foods, like other pleasurable activities such as exercising and laughing, can stimulate a rewarding response in the brain. This response is not specific to sugars and is not the same as an addiction. Evidence suggests sugar does not cause physical dependence or produce the effects of tolerance and withdrawal that is characteristic of an addictive substance. 

To learn more about sugars and behaviour, see our resources Clips on Sugar - Sugars and Health and Clips on Sugar - Facts on Sugars.