Recent evidence shows that sugar (specifically cheap fructose in junk foods) may be interfering with the ability to learn. Oh, please, Halloween only comes once a year; let the kids have some fun, we think. But that steady drip of sugar is doing more harm than you know. In one study rats became lost and confused after a steady diet of fructose. That which was once a well learned maze became a muddled mess but their non-sugar sucking counterparts did just fine getting back to the nest.
Now take that concept into the classroom. Your child (with the mean mom who limits candy) is sitting next to sugar somebody. Not only will the teacher tell you that sugar somebody has attention and behaviour issues, even if he or she could settle in for the lesson, it would remain unlearned. The brain is physically unable to transfer and store the information all because of the sugar. Boo!
What’s a parent to do? Cancel Halloween? (Good luck with that)
Here are some ideas:
- Serve fish for dinner (here is a great, kid friendly fish sticks recipe!) and eggs for breakfast more often. The rat study showed that omega 3 fats offered some protection from this “metabolic syndrome of the brain” caused by sugar
- Discuss sugar well in advance and unrelated to Halloween. Make it known that this family is aware of the health, weight and brain development issues surrounding it so there will be some changes
- Negotiate for Halloween candy-older kids will gladly trade it in for cash or a new game. It’s a win-win, they got the exercise gathering crap and get what they really want while watching the stuff go where it really belongs, in the trash
- Manage the flow-provide 7 ziplock bags and allow 7 pieces to go into each one. One piece per day is perfectly reasonable. (label the bags with name and date so sibling poaching/hoarding doesn’t take over)
- Offer pencils, stickers, coupons or other non food items to set the example at the door. (one dentist gave out cute toothbrushes, the kids loved them!)
Theresa Albert is a private, on call nutritionist, author, on camera and in print food expert. She is @theresaalbert on twitter.