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Behavioral Effects of Sucrose on Preschool Children PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 01 January 1986 00:00
"It is estimated that, on the average, each child in the United States consumes close to 2 pounds of dietary sugar each week, and that approximately 70% of this sugar is in the form of sucrose (i.e. table sugar) (Morgan & Zabik, 1981, Riddle & Prinz, 1984). Relationships between sugar consumption and a variety of health problems such as dental caries and obesity have been well documented."

"The results of this study identified significant differences in the behaviors of young children after they had received a sucrose challenge as compared to a placebo. After the sucrose challenge children showed a decrement in performance in a structured testing situation and they were more restless and less task-oriented during periods of free play. … Within the free-play situation both locomotion and distractibility increased sharply during the play session that took place 40 to 55 minutes following the sucrose challenge. Similarly, the number of errors made on the CPT [Continuous Performance Task] increased during the testing session that took place 1 hour after the challenge. These results are consistent with the findings that in children the most marked metabolic responses to sugar challenge (such as changes in concentration in serum glucose) occur within the 1st hour (Pickens, Burkeholder, & Womack, 1967)."

"Following sugar ingestion, the digestive and absorptive processes, particularly the speed with which dietary sugars are absorbed into the blood stream, are influenced by the presence of other foods in the gastrointestinal tract. Thus, in and research investigating a sucrose challenge it is important that the dietary status of participants be controlled. … Although the dose in this study was slightly higher than that used in other studies, it is important to note that the amount of sugar consumed by each child still was similar to that found in a can of soda. Thus, in terms of ecological validity, the dosage was well within the range of the amount found in many snack foods."


Goldman, Jane A., Lerman, Robert H., Contois, John H., and Udall, Jr., John N., "Behavioral Effects of Sucrose on Preschool Children", Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, January 1, 1986, Vol. 14, Num. 4, pp. 565-577

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