What is the link between sugar and behaviour in kids?
I read a great Blog post this week from New Zealand based Hannah Gentile from Nourished Nutrition. Hannah is a knowledgeable Registered Nutritionist who helps people all over the world create healthy families through scientifically-backed nutrition support.
In her blog post she discusses the link between sugar consumption and the subsequent behaviours we see in our kids. Hannah brings up some very valid points around this issue which I found started some great conversations on whether cutting out sugar will have a measurable difference in your child's behaviour.
Head on over to her blog and have a read:
If you are considering cutting out sugar from your child's diet to help with perceived behavioural problems, I think we need to look at the entire picture and decipher if any other factors could be contributing to the situation. Specifically I want to talk about sleep deficit or lack of sleep (that is age appropriate) and the effect this has on your child's mood and behaviour.
Are you cranky when you're tired? I know I am! You might get short tempered, irritable, easily frustrated and your child is no different! When your child sleeps this gives their little bodies time to rest and quite literally recharge their mind's. If your child is not getting the right amount of sleep Dr. Elise Taveras explains:
“Children who aren’t getting the recommended amount of sleep have more difficulties with attention, with emotional control, with reasoning, with problem-solving, and also have behavioural problems,” lead author Dr. Elsie Taveras told Reuters Health.
If your child is not getting the right amount of quality sleep and they are suffering from a sleep deficit, this could therefore be a contributing factor to their behaviour and general mood.
Now I am most certainly not saying that sugar is GOOD for you, it's not! It is all about moderation and a healthy balanced diet that helps to fuel our children's healthy development. My point today is that if you are experiencing some behavioural issues with your child, it could be linked to the amount and the quality of their sleep. Before cutting out sugar completely from their diet, you may wish to diagnose any sleep struggles and attempt to help your child get better restful and restorative sleep first.
If you are currently in this situation I would recommend a joint consult with a Paediatric Dietitian or Nutritionist as well as a Sleep Consultant who can provide a multifaceted approach to help improve your current situation, which could help improve your child's behaviour.