Written Paper

Sugar challenge testing with children considered behaviorally "sugar reactive."  [1984]

Behar, David Rapoport, Judith L. Adams, Anthony J. Berg, Carol J. et al.

Access the full text

A randomized, double-blind study provided a controlled, direct observational assessment of 2 different sugar challenges in 21 boys (ages 6.5-14) from 21 families who presented convincing histories of apparent sugar-reactive behavioral disturbance. The subjects were challenged with standard glucose, placebo (saccharin), and sucrose oral tolerance tests, with the challenge substances containing saccharin and lemon flavor to mask taste discrimination. Behavioral and physiological measurements were taken during a 5-hour test period on 3 separate days using oral glucose or sucrose dosings of 1.75 g/kg. Of the 21 boys, 9 met DSM III criteria for "attention-deficient disorder with hyperactivity." Sugar ingestion by the 21 boys produced a slight, significant decrease in motor activity at 3 hours, but behavioral ratings and attention and memory measures indicated an inconsistent or insignificant change after the sugar challenges. The results do not support the clinical significance of sugar intake on inducing behavioral disturbances. (wz)