Any parent that has ever witnessed the aftermath of a child's birthday party
has probably blamed sugar for the mayhem that followed the cake and ice cream. But
the fact is that sugar may actually be an innocent victim of guilt by accociation.
Experts say the notion that sugar causes children to become hyperactive is by far the
most popular example of how people believe food can affect behavior, especially
among young children. "Sugar has gotten a really bad rap", says Richard Surwit, chief
of the division of medical psychology at Duke University and a researcher who has
studied sugar's effect on the body. "Most simple carbohydrates, like potatoes and rice,
have the same metabolic effect as granulated sugar. Anyone ever heard of a potato
buzz, or a rice high?" Surwit claims the myth about sugar might have started in the
1940's, with food rationing during WWII. In an effort to ease the burden of sugar
shortages, health officials circulated the idea that sweets promoted hyperactivity.
Despite studies to the contrary, this misinformation persists.