It’s not the kids’ fault

A lot of kids are misbehaving and it seems that parents are sometimes unable to control them. But it’s not always the kids’ fault. There are some things that parents can do to minimise “bad” behaviour.

There is anecdotal evidence that certain food additives, especially red food colour, make children hyperactive. Some studies also confirm this.

However, hormonal imbalance due to the type of food ingested can also affect the children’s mood. I have recently witnessed a particularly annoying behaviour from a 6 yo after being fed a highly glycemic meal of pasta and then denied sweets or chips. The meal was basically all carbohydrate which got quickly converted to glucose in the body.

The response from the pancreas is to produce a lot of insulinwhich promptly delivers all the glucose in the blood to the cells in the body. Also, the body learns from past experience and produces more insulin than necessary, anticipating more glucose. Highly glycemic food basically means that the glucose in the blood is very quickly taken care of by insulin.

Having said that, there is also a cascading effect in hormonal response. Apart from insulin, the body releases all sorts of other hormones. Serotonin being just one example. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter and some of its functions are to regulate mood and control sleep. What is really important here is maintaining a stable supply of serotonin to the brain instead of peaks and valleys triggered by ingestion of certain foods.

As was expected, he craved more carbs to counter the sudden drop of glucose from the blood. And he was denied that. With serotonin imbalance to top it off, no wonder that he was behaving badly.  And he’s not the only one. Unfortunately, this is very common.

Lucky for this little boy, he does not eat this way all the time, this was a meal done in a hurry. But a lot of parents do not take care of what they feed their children. I have just met other parents who feed their children doughnuts, cakes and ice-creams like there’s no tomorrow. As long as their children are not overweight, they think it’s ok. Others may do it for financial reasons as carbohydrates are cheaper than protein (eg. potatoes vs steak).

The usual way to deal with hyperactive children is to put them on medication like Ritalinwhich has it’s own side effects. But it does not have to be this way. A little more awareness on parents’ side and children can be turned into little angels. A helpful tip here is to use a journal and note down what type of food has been eaten and the behaviour from the child following the meal. After some time a pattern can be identified.


About istayinshape

Passionate about keeping in shape body, mind and spirit. Can help you achieve that dream body.
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One Response to It’s not the kids’ fault

  1. ferikmalae says:

    there are so many countries in the world where kids have no food, or very little food, let alone a choice, that my heart cannot bleed for this precious little darling or people’s pseudoscientific justifications for his behaviour.

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