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Sugar Causes ADHD, But Does Breathing Cause ADHD Too?

Sugar, ADHD cause or cure?

Okay, I did some thinking on this subject a while ago and I have to say … I agree, sugar causes ADHD.

Well, maybe “causes” is too strong a word. Here’s what I figured out: There are scientists and then there are people who prefer their “proofs” to be in the form of testimonials.

Testimonial truth

“I put on my red shoes and stepped out the door last week and immediately fell to the ground. If I’d only read Doctor HighArch’s study on the dangers of red shoes sooner I could have saved myself a lot of grief.” ~ Midge in Santa Mercury

Scientific proof

Scientists, and their groupies, prefer studies where conditions such as … I don’t know, broken heels, cracked sidewalks, too much gin for breakfast … are all carefully excluded from the testing.

“But that’s just testing for red shoe problems …” you say, “… what about testing to see if sugar causes ADHD?” and, of course, you’re right. Go get a glass of gin and I’ll tell you what I think …

Scientific or testimonial proof, which one to use?

The problem is a simple one. Sugar exists in nearly all foods. Fruits and vegetables are especially high in sugar content and the sugar you buy at the grocery store is processed from vegetable matter. Beets used to be a common source of sugar here in Canada, now we harvest our sugar already bagged from passing freighters. That sugar comes from tropical climates where it is grown in the form of sugar cane.

Maybe breathing causes ADHD.

But sugar, like air, is everywhere. Maybe breathing causes ADHD. Nope, just held my breath for 72 seconds. I knew I wasn’t cured when I started wondering why I was holding my breath.

Time for a test

Question: How do you test for sugar reactions on a diet that includes so much of it in so many forms?

Answer: You don’t. You can’t. You must revert to the time honored marketers approach, “TESTIMONIALS!” (was there an echo when you read that? I paid extra for the echo …).

But the fact is that the sugar test testimonials prove as much as other invalid tests do, they prove that ADHD exists and that it can be modified.

What really happened

The deal is, if you feed an ADHDer a large quantity of sugar, in half an hour that ADHDer will be bouncing off the walls. It’s true. Not because the sugar makes them hyper, but because the sugar is a fast acting and fast receding stimulant. It does what other psycho-stimulants do, focuses and calms the brain. But it does this for a very short time, say, I don’t know, maybe ’bout half an hour. (hmmmm, that sounds familiar)

Now we’ve got a situation on our hands. An ADHDer, with increased energy (you just fed them a bucket of sugar, right?) and a sudden loss of the truly great focus they were just enjoying. I’d be a little wild.

Add in the fact that the subject of your experiment may have a penchant for poor executive function and ask yourself “Was that such a smart thing to do?” I’m going with a big resounding “No!”

… Unless …..

Of course, you might be able to turn this around. You could make up some diet that is just too strange to be questioned ~“It must be great, why else would they want me to live on okra-tofu-spelt nuggets?” ~ and sell it as the cure for a disorder you claim is caused by … sugar. Don’t forget to use lots of testimonials.

But don’t try selling this to me, I know there’s sugar in okra. Are you trying to give me ADHD?

Sugar Causes ADHD, But Does Breathing Cause ADHD Too?

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or more generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about having ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2011). Sugar Causes ADHD, But Does Breathing Cause ADHD Too?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 30, 2020, from


Last updated: 24 Oct 2011
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