mythbuster graphic Is that can of soda causing your kids to bounce off the walls? You’re probably thinking, “Of course! They’re on a sugar high!” Parents and teachers often claim that eating sugar causes hyperactivity and behavior problems in children. However, numerous scientific studies have examined this claim, and none have found a connection between sugar or artificial sweeteners and hyperactivity.

Many parents feel that sugar causes hyperactivity in their children. The idea that food can impact behavior was first introduced in 1973 by allergist Benjamin Feingold. He based his “Feingold Diet” on stories from parents who reported that food additives, including sugar, made their children restless or irritable. Since then, studies have found that parents who expect sugar to affect their children are more likely to perceive their children as hyperactive after eating sugar or drinking sugary drinks than a nonbiased observer would. Many physicians respond to parents’ concerns by recommending low-sugar diets for hyperactive children.