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Sugar & Learning


Sugar; that wonderful taste that appeals to many Americans.  We crave it, we seek it, and sometimes we eat sugar that we are not even aware of.  How does that affect our children and their capacity to learn?

Many products contain high levels of synthetic sugar under the name of High Fructose Corn Syrup. High fructose corn syrup is an inexpensive group of corn syrups that have undergone processing to convert them into a replacement for table sugar.  If you take a few moments to read the labels of familiar sweet snacks and sodas, you will find high fructose corn syrup as the number 1 ingredient.  According to Dr. Mark Hyman, “When not used in moderation it (high fructose corn syrup) is a major cause of heart diseaseobesity, cancerdementia, liver failure, tooth decay, and more.”

How does this affect our children and their ability to learn?  Food cravings and addictions are major biomedical problems.  Perhaps one of the addictions that we pay little attention to is addiction to sugar.  Learning disabilities and hyperactivity can be linked to continued significant use of and/or addiction to sugar.  Learning requires optimal health and brain function.  When a child eats inadequately or consumes foods deficient in proper nutrients, the possibilities for learning disabilities increase. With the belief that food affects behavior, memory and learning ability, diet and nutrition may be a contributing factor and assist with the remedy of a learning disability, ADD or ADHD.  A child’s inability to pay attention in school can be linked to consumption of higher amounts of sugar-laden foods.

Many children (and adults) are significantly addicted to sugar-laden foods.  We often use sugary foods as a reward for events and behaviors.  Look for some signs and symptoms that your child might be getting too much sugar in his/her daily diet.  Those symptoms can include:  difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, difficulty concentrating, obtaining low grades in school, allergies, frequent headaches, hyperactivity or listlessness, being overweight, having many dental fillings, and coming down with colds or bacterial infections more than once a year.

Good nutrition is a family affair.  Learn to be an avid reader of product labeling and find ways to balance your child’s diet by substituting more fresh fruits and vegetables into the daily diet.  Avoid foods containing significant amounts of high fructose corn syrup and replace them with less sugary options.  Your child’s health is important in their overall growth and education process.