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Date of last update: 9/9/2017.

Forum Name: Pediatric Topics

Question: 8 yr old needs sugar

 kabeebabee - Wed Apr 09, 2008 10:23 am

My 8 year old is addicted to sugar. She turns 8 on sat. and weighs 42 pounds. She also has ADHD. She takes Metadate every morning and clonidine every night to help her sleep. She the clonidine kicks in and she starts getting tired she has to have something sweet to eat. She is constantly wanting something sweet. Every single night she wakes up after midnight wanting some kind of sweet snack. she cries that she is hungry and will only eat sugary things. Could this be something physical that is wrong? Is her body needing sugar for something? Her therapist wants me to take her to her regular doc because of her excessive sugar need. Should I be worried?

 Debbie Miller, RN - Mon Jul 07, 2008 7:06 pm

User avatar Hello,
I would agree that it is important to have this checked out with the child's pediatrician to rule out any glucose abnormality that might be causing the excessive desire for sweets. Hypoglycemia can contribute to behavioral problems in children. If nothing is found to be a problem, it may just require some conditioning. You might try switching to a sugar alternative such as Xylitol or stevia.

It won't hurt to start immediately giving your child fruit when she craves sugar. Dried fruit sometimes is more readily eaten by children and can be a tasty treat with nutritional value as opposed to sugar. Give her 100% juice in place of soda and begin by mixing the sweetened cereals with equal parts non-sweetened (add corn flakes to half a box of frosted flakes for example). When you bake banana bread, cookies, etc. decrease the amount of sugar you use. Start with cutting back a little and each time decreasing a bit more until you find a satisfactory low-sugar alternative.

Do not keep highly sugared treats in the house at all, and satisfy her cravings with other foods that have value. If you feel you must have candy, find something designed for diabetics, possibly sweetened with splenda, stevia or xylitol. If she screams for sugar-laden foods, it is not out of hunger and she will not die without them so it's OK to limit her choices to healthy foods. Eventually, if physical problems are ruled out, she will likely develop a more normal eating pattern and not crave the sugar, but withdrawal may be part of the process - psychological if not physical.

If your doctor determines no physical problem, you might also benefit from a consultation with a registered dietician to find a good food plan for your daughter.

Good luck.
 kabeebabee - Mon Jul 07, 2008 7:13 pm

Thank you for your suggestions. Since I posted this her doctor has done tests. He said her glucose levels are normal, but she did eat a bowl of cereal before the test and I told him that. I have diabetes and I know you have to fast for glucose tests. Her blood sugar was 95. They took blood, it wasnt just a finger prick test. So I was wondering if the doctor could be wrong, if she hadnt of ate that cereal i wonder how low her level would be. Should she be retested? Misty
 Debbie Miller, RN - Wed Aug 06, 2008 10:34 pm

User avatar If anything the cereal would have raised the blood glucose so it would have been even lower - definitely in the normal range. You can probably get the child weaned off sugar and once the body gets used to it, the cravings decrease considerably.

I think the therapist was wise to have it checked but now that you know it's OK, you should be able to approach it from a behavior standpoint with therapy and nutritional consultation.

Good luck!

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