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Sugar Doesn’t Make Kids Hyper, a Sweet Look at How Randomized Controlled Trials Work

Sugar might be bad for you, but it doesn't make you hyper.

It’s a common belief that giving kids sugar will make them hyper, but it’s also wrong. Seeing a child become hyper after giving them a sugary treat isn’t sufficient data to make the jump that it’s the sugar causing the behavior. Healthcare Triage host Aaron Carroll explains that and the process of randomized controlled trials in this video.

Saying kids become hyper after eating sugar is different than saying that kids act hyper because of sugar. It’s the old causality versus correlation argument. Maybe kids are hyper after sugar because they’re just so pumped to have gotten some of it. Come on– sugar’s real good.

Twelve studies have examined this, and they all found that there was insufficient data to claim that sugar is the cause of hyperactivity in children. Some of them used randomized controls, and gave children sugarless drinks, but told the parents observing their behavior that the kids were given sugar. Those parents said their kids were more hyper than usual.

(via Healthcare Triage)

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Glen is a comedian, writer, husband, and father. He won his third-grade science fair and is a former preschool science teacher, which is a real job.