If you are a parent, or know a parent, you have had someone claim that if their kid eats sugar they get 'hyperactive' - that may happen, but only because a child has been told they get hyperactive and act that way, the same way if you tell a child rum cake has rum they may act drunk.

Biologically, it doesn't work that way. Sugar can certainly help you if you are diabetic(1) and "anti-sugar rhetoric is simply diet-centric disease-mongering engendered by physiologic illiteracy,” according to Edward Archer, PhD.(2)

Sugar rushes are a garbage correlation that got popular in the 1970s, the same decade and same bad methodology that has American women believing if they have a glass of wine during pregnancy their baby will be born with fetal alcohol syndrome(3), and like wine it has stuck with the public.

Bonus: anti-science activists in California using the same garbage epidemiology I routinely make fun of have gotten Skittles banned. The state lost an entire Congressional seat of people who are tired of the Governor banning everything except homeless drug use and crime and he is looking for new ways to get the state ridiculed. But he will call it "leadership" because California's unscientific emissions standards, which cause gas to be double the national average in cost, are embraced by 13 other illiterate states - so there is no reason this won't be as well.

It's flagrant pseudoscience thoroughly debunked in 1995 and yet is still promoted by the American Heart Association (the beef industry is a huge donor) and WHO (no science allowed) and capriciously uses 'intake' levels that are cobbled together from population-level epidemiology. If you are a weightlifter you know a population-level BMI number has no relevance to you, and that is the problem with breezy correlation when it comes to sugar - it is not clinically relevant to you.

Just because sugar is a trivial factor in metabolic health - it's the calories and the exercise that matter, not where they derive - doesn't mean it can't have a mid-term impact the other way. The sugar rush is not real, but a sugar crash can be, usually about an hour later.

Reactive hypoglycemia, a sugar crash, happens when our blood sugar rises and non-diabetics begin to release insulin. That tells cells to go into overtime and produce energy using the glucose. With that biology, some still believe that creates a sugar rush, but it is to prevent high blood sugsr - hyperglycemia - not make kids run around the house screaming, and when that excess sugar is gone, the insulin still present can cause blood sugar to decline quickly, and you feel tired.

"Sugar is a simple carbohydrate, meaning our bodies digest it quickly," says Dr. Sara Huberman Carbone, MD and pediatrician at One Medical. "Kids may initially feel a burst of energy after eating sugary foods, but as they quickly digest and use that fuel, they may be left feeling hungry again which for some kids can make them cranky. To avoid this crash, serve sugary foods with other types of food that include protein, fat or complex carbohydrates which take longer to digest and can help keep blood sugar levels steady."

So to avoid a sugar crash, have kids eat non-carbohydrates before binge eating candy. And if their candy is something like chewing gum, which is almost always sugar-free, they're getting a treat with no calories or carbs. 
If you still believe they go bananas after eating an Almond Joy, at least consider that is due to their desire to wind you up, not their biology.


(1) When Crossfit's CEO started an uninformed war on Coca-Cola he wrongly claimed Coke causes diabetes, which led a million diabetics to telling him Coke has saved countless diabetic lives while his expensive exercise videos have saved zero.

He threatened so sue me when I posted this photo wondering why he targeted Coke:

After demanding I give Coca-Cola back $50,000 I never got, and being laughed at for trying to lie about me, he went to an anti-vaccine group that hates me and...gave them $50,000.

(2) Maybe Big Fat was finally succeeding in its revenge on Big Sugar for the low-fat diet craze. They even had journalists claiming because a Harvard epidemiologist in the 1960s (when Harvard epidemiologists were not the Miracle Vegetable/Scary Chemical grifters they are now) got $5000 from a trade group after his study implicating sugar was published that he was on the take all along.

Yet every year some new claim about high-fructose corn syrup is published, and no one can find any evidence corporations control scientists now any more than they did then.

(3) And yet women in Europe drink wine while pregnant and have no more birth defects than Americans. It's almost like epidemiology isn't a science. Oh wait, it isn't.