One urban myth that has been successfully ruled out is that sugar doesn’t cause ADHD.
When you eat carbohydrates your body turns them into glucose (a type of sugar) and your organs (including your brain) and muscles use it for energy. Since, the neurons in the brain can’t store glucose they need a steady supply of it. Spikes in the glucose supply to the brain are bad news as they result in hyperactivity and sugar crashes.
As with fats there is good and there is bad sugar.
The bad sugar is the refined sugar in cookies, candy and soda. When you consume refined sugar, the affect is immediate your brain gets flooded with glucose and serotonin is released. Serotonin makes you feel happy. Because of large increase in blood sugar the pancreas produces large amounts of insulin, to absorb the sugar. This is when you feel the ‘crash’. You feel tired (more so than before you ate the sugar) and cannot focus.
When you eat too much sugar over time you can have problems with processing information, memory, depression and anxiety. All of which many ADHD adults are prone to have problems with.
Good sugar comes from of fruit and complex carbohydrates. Because fruit also has fiber its sugar is released at a steady speed while being digested. Complex carbohydrates are also broken down into sugar. They take longer to progress and give energy for many hours.
For some reason we think of sugar as being harmless; yet there is nothing harmless about the ailments it causes.
As well the obvious ones such as Diabetes and obesity and tooth decay there are also things that ADHD adults are already susceptible to, such as:
I have to admit I am a former sugar addict! I would eat little pieces of chocolate all day. It was a great way for me to have energy without the hassle of meal planning. However, I noticed my brain was really foggy and thinking took lots of effort. One month ago I stopped eating processed sugar. No more chocolate, no more deserts. The first few days were hard because I had to break the habit and the times I would normally enjoy a chunk of chocolate, I needed to remind myself I didn’t eat chocolate anymore.
After the first few days my energy became low and I felt very sad. A quick Google search told me this was normal sugar withdrawal symptoms. Now those have passed I feel amazing, both mentally and physically very strong.
When you eat a healthy diet that gives your body the chance to have a stable blood sugar throughout the day you will have increased mental focus and attention, and balanced moods.
How to get the sugar out of your diet:
1) Start with the obvious culprits. Chocolate, cakes, sugar in your coffee etc. Later on in your sugar elimination process you can cut out the hidden stuff.
2) Go Brown
Change all the white products in your cupboards to brown, for example bread, pasta, rice.
3) Eat regularly
Never go too long without food. This keeps your blood sugar in your brain stable.
If you notice some withdrawal symptoms like me, try to stick it out. They aren’t pleasant, but the grass is greener on the other side! (also constant a doctor if you are worried)
5) Notice the benefits.
In fact, don’t just notice them, enjoy them!!