Does Sugar Really Make Kids Hyper?

Learn more about how sugar may impact a child’s behavior and which Halloween candy bars are the biggest sugar-bombs.

Many supposedly healthy foods, such as yogurt and breakfast cereals, are packed with sugar. Now with Halloween around the corner, children are soon going to get a high-dose injection of the sweet stuff, in its many forms, including corn syrup. Are you going to be dealing with a kid bouncing off of the walls for the next few days after the big event?

Learn more about how sugar may impact a child’s behavior and which candy bars are the biggest sugar-bombs.

What’s the Story with Sugar?

Many parents believe that a “sugar high” causes children to become more active. The science behind that belief is not entirely clear. Various experiments have shown that there is no significant evidence linking sugar to hyperactivity. The results of this study do not support the myth that a high sucrose (sugar) diet adversely affects the behavior or cognitive functioning of children.

However, there is other research that shows there may be behavioral changes related to sugar. Having a sugar-laden breakfast greatly reduced attention span in participants of one study. Another study seemed to show that children given sugar produced higher levels of adrenaline.

So while it appears that children given sugar or a sugar substitute may not test positively for hyperactivity, there is support showing that sugar may produce some undesirable effects. A high diet in sugar can result in major tooth decay or lead to obesity. These behavioral changes, coupled with the health effects of sugar, may make parents want to limit the amount of sugar children consume.

Are All Candy Bars Bad?

Some candy bars are worse than others in terms of the amount of sugar delivered quickly in a tiny package. One easy way to cut down the amount of sugar given to any child in one sitting is to offer a mini candy bar rather than a full-size option.

What else should be avoided? Here are examples of a few of the worst Halloween candy bars for kids in terms of sugar and calorie content:

  • Milky Way minis offer up 9.6 grams of sugar and 72 calories for every two pieces.
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins Snack Size deliver 8 grams of sugar and 90 calories per piece.
  • Snickers Fun Size bars serve up 8.5 grams of sugar and 80 calories in each small bar.

Many of the fun-sized bars listed above pack in artificial chemicals in addition to the high amount of sugar and calories per serving. Here are a few options you might like to try instead:

  • Justin’s Mini Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups at 6 grams of sugar and 70 calories.
  • Toblerone Fun Size at 7.4 grams of sugar and 66 calories.
  • Smarties at 6 grams of sugar and 25 calories.

While some "healthier" options are still close in sugar content, the quality of the ingredients can make them a better choice for little costumed ghouls and goblins.

Get a Bellyache from Too Much Candy?

MedPost Urgent Care Center hopes you and your loved ones have a happy, safe, and healthy Halloween. But if for some reason you're not feeling so great in the days that follow, MedPost urgent care services are available at locations throughout the country.