Naturally as a parent, you only want the best for your child. This is why it’s so important to encourage and support their passions to help them achieve their full potential, while giving yourself every advantage to nurture their growth.
However, many parents unknowingly compromise their child’s capacity for learning by allowing them to consume excessive amounts of sugar, and often in the morning just before school.
While sweets and sugary treats may seem harmless (even when your kids are highly active), research shows that high sugar intake can have a significant impact, not only on their physical wellbeing, but on a child’s focus, learning, and memory during class. Let’s take a look…
How does sugar affect children’s learning?
When a child consumes high amounts of sugar, their blood sugar levels spike, causing a surge of energy. This may seem like a good thing, but the effects are short-lived. As the sugar is quickly metabolized, blood sugar levels plummet, causing a “sugar crash.” This crash can leave children feeling tired, sluggish, and unable to concentrate, making it difficult for them to learn and retain new information.
According to The Sector, excess sugar consumption can also lead to an increased risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a condition that can negatively impact academic performance.
Does sugar affect kids’ concentration?
Yes, high sugar intake can affect a child’s concentration. The sugar crash mentioned above can cause children to feel lethargic and unable to focus. This can be especially problematic during school hours, where concentration is essential for learning and completing tasks. In addition, high sugar intake can lead to hyperactivity, making it even more challenging for children to focus on tasks and pay attention in class. As highlighted by Tutor Doctor, consuming sugary drinks and snacks during study sessions can also lead to a lack of focus and concentration.
How does sugar affect focus and brain functionality?
Sugar has been shown to impair cognitive function and brain functionality, affecting a child’s ability to focus and learn. Research has found that high sugar intake can lead to inflammation in the brain, which can interfere with neurotransmitter function. Neurotransmitters are chemicals in the brain responsible for sending messages between neurons.
When these messages are disrupted, it can affect a child’s ability to focus, learn, and remember information. As explained by Harvard Medical School, high sugar intake can also lead to insulin resistance, which can impair brain function and lead to a decreased ability to process information.
Does too much sugar affect memory?
Yes, excessive sugar intake can also have an impact on a child’s memory. Studies have shown that high sugar intake can lead to oxidative stress, which can damage brain cells and impair memory function. Additionally, sugar has been shown to interfere with the brain’s ability to form new memories, making it difficult for children to retain new information.
As noted by Brainscape, high sugar intake can also lead to a lack of motivation and focus, which can impact a child’s ability to study and recall information.
The impact of high sugar intake on a child’s focus, learning, and memory in school cannot be ignored. As a parent, it’s important to be mindful of the amount of sugar your child is consuming and limit their intake of sugary treats. Opt for healthier snacks such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts, and explore sugar alternatives like stevia, erythritol and monk fruit. To learn more, take a look at our Article on “4 Sugar Alternatives for Young Children” to understand how much sugar they should aim for per day and some healthier options to consider. Happy health!
- The Sector. (2022, January 13). How does excess sugar affect the developing brain throughout childhood and adolescence? A neuroscientist who studies nutrition explains.
- Tutor Doctor. (2018, January). Sugar Awareness Week: The Effects of Too Much Sugar on the Brain.
- Brainscape. (n.d.). Does Sugar Help with Studying?
- Harvard Medical School. (2018, January 17). Sugar and the Brain: How Diet Affects Mood and Mental Health.