Does sucrose or aspartame cause hyperactivity in children?

Nutr Rev. 1994 May;52(5):173-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.1994.tb01415.x.


Anecdotal evidence has led to the hypothesis that there is a relationship between sugar intake and hyperactive behavior. To assess this hypothesis, a recent study using a range of behavioral and cognitive measures evaluated the effects of diets high in sucrose, aspartame, and saccharin on the performance of school-aged children believed to be sensitive to sugar, and preschool children. Although intakes exceeded average dietary levels, neither sucrose nor aspartame negatively affected behavior. Taken together with previous work, these results indicate that sugar is not a major cause of hyperactivity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aspartame / adverse effects*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / chemically induced*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / drug effects
  • Child, Preschool
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sucrose / adverse effects*


  • Sucrose
  • Aspartame