Behavioral effects of sucrose on preschool children
- Cite this article as:
- Goldman, J.A., Lerman, R.H., Contois, J.H. et al. J Abnorm Child Psychol (1986) 14: 565. doi:10.1007/BF01260524
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Despite speculation that sucrose consumption affects behavior, little empirical information is available. Accordingly, this study investigated the effect of sucrose consumption on the behavior of eight preschool children. Children were tested individually using a double-blind, crossover design. On separate mornings each child received 6 ounces of juice, sweetened on one morning with sucrose and on the other with an artificial sweetener. Children were observed for 90 minutes following the drinks, alternating between 15-minute sessions of work on structured tasks and 15-minute sessions of free play. Following the sucrose drink the children showed a decrement in performance in the structured testing situation, and they demonstrated more “inappropriate” behavior during free play. These differences in behavior were most pronounced approximately 45 to 60 minutes after the drinks. Thus, the study provides objective evidence in young children of a rather subtle, yet significant, time-dependent behavior effect of sucrose ingestion.