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Sweets and ADHD

Posted 04-16-12 at 11:29 PM by KCTang
I got home from work today to a very cranky baby boy.

Seems he climbed the recliner in his room (a first) and pulled down a box of chocolates and Cadbury mini eggs from the shelving next to it (a 2nd first).

He ate 3 whole pieces of dark chocolate and a couple of the eggs, and by the time I got home, was experiencing the 'crash' that comes after the sugar rush. Doesn't help that he couldn't go down for a nap because of it either.


Later this evening, I had just put him into his cribby to hopefully finally have a nap, had my dinner, along with 6 chocolate chip cookies and milk for my desert.

Not too long after, I felt my 'crash' and had a nap of my own on the couch, for an hour.

I very rarely have sweets, let alone that many, and didn't sleep very wel last night, so it wasn't surprising that I felt tired too.


What I want to point out is the correlation between sugar and sweets and ADHD.

Really, there is none. Eating sweets doesn't give you ADHD, and the belief that ADHD kids are just kids being fed too much candy is as true as the Mayans predicting the end of the world thousands of years ago (but not the coming of the Spaniards that ended their empire ).

What is true though is the impact of sweets on ALL of our blood-sugar levels (ADHD or not). And how the sharp upward spike makes our bodies release a ton of insulin (to store the excess blood sugar) which has the 2ndary effect of making us tired and even irritated.

This is also true for any form of 'simple carbohydrates' which include all manner of starchy foods, like rice, potato, bread, pasta, etc.

Our brains are already deficient in working memory capacity. Being tired or cranky only makes it more difficult to think clearly.

Do yourself a favor and avoid or limit sweets and starches in the morning and during work hours, when you need to use your brain. That coffee and donut breakfast, or even that 'healthy' bagel, could be making things more difficult for you, and robbing you of your mental acuity right as you're needing to use your brain the most.


(ps. unfortunately, my wife didn't take any pictures of the 'chocolate mayhem' our son created, which he had all over his face.

Though she had a brief thought of getting the camera, her OCD kicked in quickly afterwards when she didn't see it nearby. And it got her jumping in asap to clean the fingerprints and footprints that had been smeared all over the baby's room. )
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  1. Old
    Lifesnotfair's Avatar
    I do not have a great deal of information on the diet side of things, I certainly can relate to the coffee and donut breakfast and have it send me off on a zombie type rift. Kicking myself for it knowing I felt great driving to work and in the midst of driving there I ate that only to get there and feel crappy. What are your suggestions?
    Posted 04-24-12 at 01:53 AM by Lifesnotfair Lifesnotfair is offline
  2. Old
    KCTang's Avatar
    I'd recommend going for something else on the coffee shop menu, if available, like a ham & egg breakfast sandwich. It's got a good protein to carb ratio, and if the place offers tomatoes or other greens, then all the better. I know some donut shops do.

    But even without it, the protein in the egg and ham offers a nice, slow-digesting, source of energy, while the starch in the bun will be broken down for quick use.

    But take my advice with a grain of salt, and test different similar options with your own body type.

    Personally, I can eat the McDonald's Sausage and Egg McMuffin for a decently energizing breakfast, while others say the higher grease content (compared to the Ham & Egg) really makes them feel lethargic.


    Coffee is a mixed bag.

    Even before I took meds, I found coffee made me too jittery. I've read some people on here say it's a nice pick me up around their meds, not many negatives. Test it out for yourself. Whether it helps or hurts is for your body to say, so if Coffee works for you, then don't let me talk you out of it.

    Maybe without the donut, coffee is perfectly ok.

    I just remembered though, the one thing to keep in mind is Coffee is a diuretic --- it causes your body to use up water faster. Basically it dehydrates you.

    By itself, this can be bad enough. But with ADHD meds (which some are also diuretic) you can find yourself feeling crappy because you're dehydrated. Nothing that a good glass of water won't help with.

    Personally, I've found that a nice tall glass of water first thing in the morning is a great starter.

    They say most people wake up wanting coffee to cure that morning headache, but that the headache is because they're dehydrated after a nights sleep. And that a glass of water would have done the trick (without dehydrating them and making things worse).

    Again, I'm not going to argue for or against coffee. It's one of those things that people self-medicate with, and it's up to them to find out for themselves what works.

    All I'll suggest is to try sipping some water and wait 5-10 minutes before you drink that coffee and see if that doesn't make you feel better. If you still find yourself wanting/needing the coffee, then at least we've ruled out one problem.


    Outside of that, here's a copy-paste of a reply I wrote last month about nutrition in general.

    When concentration is important, I fuel myself with:

    -Good protein to carb ratio (proteins are building blocks of neurotransmitters like dopamine)
    -More complex carbs, less sugars & simple carbs (read up on glycemic index. I avoid the bagel/donut breakfast.)
    -Minor amounts of caffeine (coke, chocolate) if a need a little boost in thinking at end of day
    -I've started on Omega 3 supplements and its quite helpful, when combined with meds

    Reducing amount of sugars and starches is important for me when I eat before and during work.

    Sugars and simple carbs like starches are digested quickly, flooding the blood with glucose. This releases a big shot of insulin into your bloodstream, which makes you tired or groggy. If you've ever felt this way after a big meal or after pasta or rice, now you know why.

    That groggy feeling hampers my thinking on top of my ADHD, so I'm fighting 2 battles. Complex carbs like greens, anything with good amounts of fibre, are slower to digest, thus don't cause that insulin spike. Another good method is eating the proteins in your meal before you touch the starches on your plate. They are also slower to digest, so it gets your digestive system working on that first. Original post
    Posted 04-24-12 at 07:46 PM by KCTang KCTang is offline
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