The Sugar and Learning Connection

July 2, 2014 by Geoff Nixon

How sugar is affecting your child’s learning

Article by Nancy Guberti

We are a product of what we eat and absorb. Food cravings and addictions are a real biomedical problem. One known food addiction is to sugar. Sugar and learning are connected.  Sugar can be a contributor to learning disabilities, hyperactivity and it affects the educational process.

Learning requires optimal health and brain function. When a child eats inadequately or consumes foods deficient in proper nutrients, the possibilities for learning disabilities increase. With the belief that food affects behavior, memory and learning ability, diet and nutrition may be a contributing factor and assist with the remedy of a learning disability, ADD or ADHD.

Sugar affects a child’s ability to pay attention and can contribute to symptoms of being overactive and irritable. One of the most important factors in the solution of ADD/ADHD is optimal mineral intake and absorption. One can be deficient in important minerals that are essential for proper body and brain functioning.

Problem: The Sugar Content of Supplements

Children classified as learning disabled have one or more mineral deficiencies and require supplementation. A common problem with mineral supplementation is the supplements’ content of sugar. It is important to avoid supplements containing lactate, corn derivatives or sugar. Another common error is the heavy juvenile consumption of fruit juice and Sports drinks which are really refined sugars and contain little or no nutritional value.

Sugar has the potential to be a destroyer of general health and immunity as it robs the body of important vitamins and minerals. Besides, sugar can cause a chemical addiction as severe as other drug addictions.

Many children are addicted to sugar, eating it regularly instead of the important nutritious foods. Over consumption of sugar makes children vulnerable to yeast overgrowth, which can lead to chronic nasal congestion, eczema, and ear infections. Yeast overgrowth is linked to sensory integration disorders, high threshold of pain, inappropriate giggling and mental fogginess. The yeast becomes much greater problem with the ingestion of sugar or a sugar source.


A person with Candida has more gut permeability meaning the food in the gut can get from the intestines into the blood stream undigested or partially digested. The undigested food does not belong in the blood stream, and can cause hyperactivity especially if one cannot breakdown peptides. Certain peptides such as casein and gluten can cause a host of issues for learning and behavior.

Did you know that many neurotransmitters or brain chemicals are present in your brain as well as in your gut? Therefore, there is a concrete connection between your intestines and your brain.

Sugar Hinders Vitamin B Absorption

Another way sugar and learning are related is that sugar hinders proper absorption of many B vitamins into the body and its cells. B vitamins are necessary to endorse cognitive thinking, coordination, and memory. When there is a lack of B vitamins, a child’s blood sugar can drop about 20 minutes after eating sugar, which leads to a lack of oxygen to the brain. The lack of oxygen to the brain can cause forgetfulness and affect ability to concentrate.

In addition, B vitamins are necessary to balance and regulate one’s mood and behavior. Sugar increases adrenaline levels, which can also interfere with learning as well as increase anxiety and irritability. So many children and even adults are walking around with overtaxed adrenal systems and find it a struggle to accomplish their daily tasks.

Role of Sugar in Daily Life

Sugar has become an American symbol of reward — sugar and learning are connected here in a circular and potentially dangerous way. Behavior modification therapy and classes reward children with candy when they complete assignments or demonstrate good behavior.

As a society, we must question the type of message we are teaching our youth. Research indicates warning signs to remove or decrease sugar intake from a child’s diet. Recommendations are made when children or adolescents exhibit any of the following: difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, difficulty concentrating, obtain low grades in school, allergies, frequent headaches, hyperactive or listless, overweight, many dental fillings, colds or bacterial infections more than once a year. Family and parental modeling promote healthier lifestyles and give children greater knowledge to make more nutritious food choices.

The best approach is to get yourself and your child tested to discover one’s nutritional needs and follow your customized food and supplement regime to reach your optimal health goals. Good nutrition is a family affair.

Article by Nancy Guberti. She can be reached at

Follow Nancy on Twitter at nancyguberti as seen listed in the practitioner directory of Jenny McCarthy’s Mother Warriors. Her phone number is 914-725-6801.

Website is Coach For Healthy Living.

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  • Trista Wilson

    What an informative read. I have heard that sugar can become an addiction just like drugs, it’s amazing how that can happen. While I do not think sugar is the “devil” I think it should be consumed in moderation. I know my kids are thrilled when I allow them to have a cookie after supper, but I think in today’s society it’s too easy to bribe kids with sugary foods, as well as other horrible foods (like Mcdonald’s and such)

    • Watch out for a new film, “That Sugar Film” by Damon Gameau that shows sugar is now everywhere. He goes on a 40 teaspoon a day diet without eating junk food or sweets!

  • tom

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    • Tina Liberatore

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