A friend recently asked me about the link between refined sugar and additives in children with learning disabilities and/or attention deficit disorders. I am reposting this article and hope that you find it useful.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is a childhood disorder characterized by hyperactivity, impulsivity, and/or inattention. Not all ADHD sufferers experience all three behavioral symptoms, but each of them can lead to difficulty in academic, emotional, and social functioning of the child. ADHD diagnosis is made by satisfying a specific criteria, which may be associated with other neurological, behavioral, and developmental or learning disabilities.

Several studies in the United States report that approximately eight to ten percent of children meet the diagnostic criteria for ADHD. Thus, ADHD is considered to be one of the most common childhood disorders. Boys are four time more likely to suffer from ADHD than girls.

ADHD has three subtypes. These are:

  1. Predominantly inattentive
  2. Predominantly hyperactive
  3. Combined

It is believed that children eventually outgrow ADHD; however, recent studies indicates that many children continue to show symptoms that can affect both their occupational and social functioning their entire lives. About 40 to 50 percent of all reported cases of ADHD hyperactive in children persist throughout adulthood.

Specific causes of ADHD are unknown, but there are factors that may aggravate the occurence of ADHD:

  1. Genetics– Studies show that ADHD may be inherited; genetics are listed in 75 percent of reported cases.
  2. Evolutionary theories– The theory proposes that hyperactivity may be an adaptive behavior in pre-modern humans; children diagnosed with ADHD retain some of these “hunter” characteristics associated with early pre-agricultural human society.
  3. Environmental – In most instances, the problem with inattentiveness and restlessness is an improper diet. A high-sugar diet filled with things that excite the brain (i.e. Glutamate), food dyes and harmful fats (Omega-6) will disrupt brain function. In this list, we must include environmental factors such as exposure to alcohol and tobacco smoke during the mother’s pregnancy.

Symptoms of ADHD vary depending on each of the three subtypes:

Inattentive ADHD: