Do sugar and aspartame cause ADHD?

Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
When consumed in normal amounts, sugar provides our bodies with glucose, a natural sugar important for metabolic processes. However, most of us consume too much sugar, which can lead to health problems. In particular, children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) should limit their intake of sugar and the artificial sweetener aspartame. Consuming too much of both may increase risks of ADHD and hyperactivity.

Healthcare experts recommend that parents only allow sugar in moderation, whether children have ADHD or not. Aspartame, made of amino acids, is able to affect brain function. Older studies suggested that aspartame could lead to ADHD-related behaviors and seizures. Because these effects were never found, physicians don’t recommend eliminating aspartame in children with ADHD.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.