Home Health DR MAX PEMBERTON: Why Joe Wicks is wrong about diet and the real reason children suffer from ADHD

DR MAX PEMBERTON: Why Joe Wicks is wrong about diet and the real reason children suffer from ADHD

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Joe Wicks has blamed his childhood high-sugar diet on his ADHD and behavioral problems.
  • Food additives only play a small role in children’s behavior, but other factors are to blame for the ADHD epidemic

Fitness trainer Joe Wicks has blamed ultra-processed junk food for the explosion of young people diagnosed with ADHD.

Wicks said he “was on sugar” as a child and believes his love of foods, such as Wagon Wheels and jelly sandwiches, is what caused his behavioral problems.

There is no doubt that food plays a very important role in aspects such as mood. We know that good nutrition is closely related not only to healthy bodies, but also to healthy minds.

But there is no evidence to show that high-sugar foods or drinks have any real effect on children’s behavior. In fact, doctors have consistently dismissed this notion as a myth.

There have been several double-blind, randomized controlled trials conducted specifically to examine this claim; None of them found a link between sugar intake and children’s behavior. Interestingly, in one study, parents were told that their children had been given sugar when in fact they had not, and they noticed that their children were more hyperactive despite this.

Joe Wicks has blamed his childhood high-sugar diet on his ADHD and behavioral problems.

This myth may be based on research into artificial colors used in some soft drinks and candy, which have been shown to cause hyperactivity in susceptible children. It appears that this may have caused confusion and people mistakenly attributed the hyperactivity to the sugar and not the additives.

In any case, food additives are considered to play only a small role in children’s behavior.

There are many other more important factors. And I agree with Wicks that there are external factors at play in much of the ADHD epidemic.

I’m worried that things like smartphones and ‘multi-screening’ (watching TV while on the phone, etc.), along with social media where kids are bombarded with short snippets of information in quick succession, are to blame for the collapse. in attention spans that we seem to be witnessing.

In today’s world, from the moment a child wakes up to the moment they fall asleep, their day is packed with things to do and see. But filling our children’s lives in this way can cause untold harm and harm.

I am deeply concerned about the effects of modern life on the minds of young people. Contrary to claims that sugar causes hyperactivity, research has clearly shown that screen time does increase the risk of behavioral problems in young children. This isn’t remotely surprising to those of us who work in mental health services: we always see children who don’t seem to have the ability to sit still, concentrate and maintain attention for longer than it takes to read an Instagram post.

While it may be reassuring for parents to have labels like ADHD and blame hyperactivity on sugar levels, because it offers a seemingly biological explanation for a child’s behavior, we know that there are also important social factors at play.

It does not seem like a coincidence to me that the rates of attention and behavioral difficulties in children have skyrocketed in line with the rise of technology. If a child’s brain is bombarded non-stop for hours on end, is it any wonder we are seeing record levels of attention disorders, hyperactivity, and sleep problems?

Bullied parents use tablets and televisions as babysitters. I understand why. But it seems ironic that even though we increasingly treat children with kid gloves, never allow them to go outside to play, prohibit hitting, feed them organic foods, etc., we seem to be causing other dangers.

Consuming high levels of sugar is not good for you; It is linked to a number of health problems such as obesity and dental problems. But, as much as I am a Joe Wicks fan, it is wrong for me to blame him for the rising rates of behavioral problems in children.

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