Hyperactivity or hyperkinesis is a diagnosable syndrome recognized by health professionals as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The precise cause or causes of ADHD are not known. New research offers hope in pinpointing an internal origin for the disorder. A recent study suggests that true ADHD is related to a problem in brain metabolism. Researchers studied adults who had been hyperactive since childhood and who were parents of hyperactive children. They found reduced activity in those areas of the brain that control attention and movement.
In the early 1970’s Dr. Feingold proposed that much of the hyperactivity involved with learning disabilities could be attributed to food additives. This untested idea based on testimonials gained wide public acceptance. He believed that removing synthetic colors and flavors, as well as certain fruits and vegetables containing “salicylates” from the diet could treat behavioral disturbances. He also speculated that foods, such as sugar, caused behavior changes. Over the years, dozens of scientists put Dr. Feingold’s theories to the test, but the evidence they gathered failed to support Dr. Feingold’s theory that additives, sugar or other substances in food, cause or contribute to hyperactivity.
Scientists studying hyperactivity found that sugar had a mildly quieting effect on some children. One theory is that eating sugar and other carbohydrate foods raise the level of brain neurotransmitters that are associated with feeling relaxed and calm.