Friday, March 10, 2017

Are Sugar Highs Real?

Halloween is any kid's favorite time of the year because they what's going to happen, their parents know what happens, we know what happens. It's the only night of the year where you get to have as much candy as your body is physically capable of ingesting. Kids may love this, but parents know that where there is sugar there is an uncontainable explosion of the sugar rush that follows.

Image result for elf sugar gif
Buddy: "We elves try to stick to the four main food groups:
candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup."
Everyone knows this to be true, but many studies for a while now have shown the invalidity of the so-called sugar rush. This isn't a particularly recent finding, but the fact still remains that this misleading concept of a sugar high is widely accepted and enforced by parents everywhere. It's time to clear up this myth once and for all so that all children all over the world may eat their chocolates and candies in peace!

Hoover and Millich conducted a study in 1994 related to this. The study was fairly simple, they gathered a bunch of mothers who claimed that their kids were particularly sensitive to sugar and told them all that they were going to give the kids sugar. One group received sugar and the other group received aspartame as a placebo. Interestingly, only the more strict mothers reported hyper behaviour in their kids. So it doesn't seem as though sugar has a direct effect on the temperament of kids.

Image result for sugar high gif

Then why is the notion of a sugar rush so accepted by everyone? Some speculation on this subject might suggest the presence of other substances in certain chocolates. A lot of chocolate does contain substantial amounts of caffeine, so much so they've started selling chocolate bars for the purpose of replacing cups of coffee. Or maybe it's just excitement from the idea of that delicious, tooth-rotting, sweet, sticky stuff that gets kids going - like this little girl who tearing up that piece of cotton candy with no remorse.


Posted by: Hargun Khanna (Week 5)


  1. Growing up as a kid my mom has always been against too much sweets but in her defense it was to protect herself against possibly getting diabetes. However, as a kid she'd always tell me and my brother how too much sugar before bed would make us stay awake for too long. Personally, I've never felt a "sugar rush" from any sweets but my brother on the other hand would jump off walls. Even though it isn't proven, I think it all just depends on the person.
    Posted by Ana Carolina Nepomuceno

    1. I agree, there must also be a strong mental impact depending on the person, like you said. I personally have never really liked sweets and have never really experienced a "sugar high" either, but I have friends who thrive off of sugar and have insatiable sweet tooths which definitely, I can imagine, has an impact on the extent of their "sugar rush."

      Posted by: Hargun Khanna

  2. This was such a fascinating read as I always thought the sugar rush was a real thing. I always believed that a main source of "energy" from drinks like Monster and Redbull came from high contents of sugar mixed with some other vitamins and caffeine. Perhaps it's not just the sugar or even the sugar at all that causes this sudden burst of energy, which I never knew before!

    Posted by Andrew Do (Group A)

    1. Glad you liked it! I wonder if maybe sugar in combination has an enhanced affect with energy drinks? Energy drinks are filled with so many different understudied and serious chemicals, maybe sugar does more than just mask the flavor of the other vitamins and caffeine, etc in Redbulls?

      Posted by Hargun Khanna

  3. I feel like I have to take your word on this. I wish you presented some more evidence, its hard to come to terms with the idea that sugar rush aren't real considering the experiences we all seem to have with kids who get way too hyper after consuming copious amounts of candy. Maybe this idea has been re-enforced so often by the media that we have all stopped questioning it. Still a very interesting topic I'd like to look further into.

    Posted by Michael Aflakpui(group A)

    1. That's a good point Michael, I could have included more evidence. I gave a brief overview with one of the more direct case studies done on the topic. Also, I had a hard time find any reliable peer reviewed articles proving the physiological existence of a sugar rush.

      I also think that the media reinforcement of the idea of a sugar rush has a sure impact on how we perceive it today. I think logically the sugar rush probably is a result of the sheer excitement of wanting and then eating candy. It is seen as a reward mostly too which also enhances the mental image of candy, fueling the excitement and maybe the sugar high? More studies would have to be done, just some thoughts.

      Posted by Hargun Khanna

  4. That is very interesting that only the more strict parents were the ones that said their kids became more hyper. I wonder if it is just because of the fact that they don't want their kids to have the sugar in the first place. Regarding the study, did the placebo cause any interesting effects? for example, did any of the kids with the placebo have mothers that claimed they were more hyper? I feel like if that was the case than certainly you could conclude that a sugar rush isn't a real thing.

    Posted by Nicolas Baltayan (Group A)

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