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Sweet disorder a hyper myth

BOSTON: Feb 2 Reuter — Re searchers have found diets rich in sugar and artificial sweeteners do not change children's behaviour.

The study, to be published in The New England Journal of Medicine, debunks the widely held belief that sugar makes some children hyper active.

In tests of 48 children, all of whom were described by their par ents as sensitive to sugar, research ers from Nashville and Iowa City gave the youngsters diets rich in sugar, Nutrasweet or another artifi cial sweetener, saccharin.

The children or their families did not know which diets they were re ceiving, and the diets were kept free of additives, artificial food colouring and preservatives.

After three weeks on each diet, "there were no significant differ ences" in the behaviour or mental abilities of any of the children.

Twenty-three of the youngsters were between six and 10 years old. The rest were pre-schoolers.

The team, led by Dr Mark Wol raich, of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, said the type of sweeten er used had no impact, though the

older children were selected for the tests because their parents believed them to be sensitive to sugar.

In an editorial in the journal, Dr Marcel Kinsbourne, of Tufts Uni versity, in Medford, Massachu setts, said, "There is no evidence that sugar alone can turn a child with normal attention into a hyper active child.

"The same applies to aspartame [the generic name for Nutrasweet), which has also been suspected of causing behaviour disorders in some