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October 3, 2000

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Sterling, Virginia, USA:

My two year old son has noticeable changes in behavior (e.g., excitability, excessive energy, and lack of concentration) after ingesting refined sugar. He drinks a lot of fluids and urinates a lot during the day and at night. I have limited his sugar intake at different intervals and there is a noticeable difference in his behavior (e.g., more concentration, less maniac behavior). Could he have some type of diabetes? Is he just highly sensitive to sugar?

Answer:

Most likely this is not diabetes. There is great debate about whether or not there really are people “sensitive” to refined sugar. Most of us do not believe that this is the case but specific research in this area is not definitive. However, limiting refined sugars in anyone’s food/meal plan is reasonable and without negative consequences in a food plan that is balanced, has adequate total calories, vitamins, minerals and appropriate protein, carbohydrate and fats. There are some people who have hypoglycemia where any excess carbohydrate, especially simple sugars like sucrose and fructose, exacerbate how much insulin in produced. Your family doctor or pediatrician should be able to help you figure out if this is the case with some simple home finger blood glucose testing before and one hour after eating for a few days.

SB