Thursday, October 14, 2010

ADHD and "Corn Sugar"

Do you know what this is?

It looks innocent enough doesn't it? It's just a single piece of candy out of a pack. It's actually quite small. It came in a pack with about a dozen other small candies that looked almost exactly like this one. I assume they looked like this one, I didn't actually see the rest of the pack. And I only saw this one at the end of several hours of pure chaos. It fell out the pocket on Master J's shirt. It explained a whole lot.

I knew about five minutes after he walked in the door from school that something wasn't right. He was about five times louder than usual (which is pretty damn loud in it's own right). He couldn't sit still at the island to do his homework, gyrating all over the place. He alternated between sliding off his chair and looking like he was levitating. But mostly it was the vocalization. Oh my lord the vocalizations.

For the record, Master J has an incredible range of noise making. If any of you are old enough to remember Michael Winslow from the Police Academy movies you'll have an understanding of what talent my child has. He can perfectly mimic most sounds. When he was younger he would mimic sirens so well on the playground that kids and teachers alike would look for the fire truck. Not only is the pitch perfect, the volume is incredible. I only wish I were kidding. More recently, he's started mimicking the sounds of light sabers, machine guns, phasers and other weaponry that shows up on Star Wars, Ironman and Star Trek.

So, there he sat (levitated) at the island, struggling to get through his homework while making a constant soundtrack of "fight" noises. Mister C walked in from work, took one listen to what was going on and said "What the heck is going on around here? What did he eat?" I had no answer, just that he'd been like that since arriving home. I couldn't figure out what had set him off.

It wasn't until he went to get ready for bed and that one piece of candy fell out of his shirt pocket that I realized what had happened. When I asked him he told me that his teacher had given him the choice between having a piece of his dark chocolate or the sweet tarts and he had chosen the sweet tarts. He had obviously chosen unwisely. He had eaten it before he got into my car. It hit him within ten minutes. And lasted for several hours.

As a complete (sort of) aside, I have had other parents of kids diagnosed with ADHD insist to me that I am wrong. That their kids don't react at all to hfcs. My response to that is that one of several things is happening 1) Their kid gets a steady enough diet of it that they never act any differently 2) Their kid consumes it and reacts to it, but is now on medication or 3)They're just really blessed that their kid doesn't react the same way mine does.

Which brings me back to the title of this post and it's reference to "corn sugar". Because the corn refiners association would have you believe that "sugar is sugar" and that there is no difference. They'll bring out lots of researchers and studies that "prove" that their product doesn't affect you any differently than sugar. That the two products are in fact "identical". They are not telling the whole truth.

Because I can tell you based strictly on behavior which product my child has recently had. Put it this way, if my kid is sort of loud, boisterous and full of energy, he may or may not have had sugar. But if he looks like an out of control meth addict who also suffers from Tourette's syndrome and is having trouble controlling his limbs and his mouth, he's ingested high fructose corn syrup. Call it "corn sugar" if the relabeling makes you feel better about the product, the end result is the same. A flailing, babbling, uncomfortable kid with two parents shaking their heads and asking "How the hell did he get a hold of that shit again?"


Anonymous said...

I think Master J needs to tell his teacher that he made a wrong choice and that he can only have what you send in. He's lucky that you understand what it does to him,doesn't make it any easier to deal with but if in a different setting he could suffer some serious discipline..