Sugar doesn't make children hyper, according to experts.

Can Peanut Butter Make a Child Hyper?

by Brooke Julia

Most toddlers and preschoolers have enough energy to keep them bouncing off the walls all day without certain foods adding to the fun. That's why it's important to watch what your toddler eats if you don't want a hyped-up tyke on your hands. We all know espresso is probably a no-no, but what other kinds of foods can shift your little one into high gear? Read on to find out whether peanut butter is a no-no.

Sugar Hype

Are you afraid the sugar in your child's peanut butter may have him running in circles? Many a parent has blamed sugar for their amped-up youngster. But sugar doesn't create an energy spike -- the whole thing is a old wives' tale. According to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, one of Harvard University's teaching hospitals, there is no connection between sugar and hyperactivity. In fact, neither sugar nor artificial sweeteners have any measurable effect on a child's energy level.

Preservatives and Artificial Dyes

John E. Huxsahl, a child psychiatrist with the Mayo Clinic, says there may be something else you should look for in your child's peanut butter: food additives. Certain preservatives, including sodium benzoate, and several types of dyes, including yellows 5, 6 and 10 and red 40, may promote hyperactive behavior in children. Look for these ingredients on the label of your peanut butter to make sure they aren't present.

Choosing Peanut Butter

Certain peanut butters can actually be good for your little one, according to Harvard Medical School. That's because peanut butter is packed with healthy unsaturated fats and provides your toddler with much-needed fiber and nutrients, such as potassium and protein. Not all peanut butter is created equal, though. Some are also packed with high-fructose corn syrup, whopping amounts of sodium and hydrogenated oils -- oils treated with hydrogen so that they achieve a solid or semi-solid state. Go for a peanut butter with simple ingredients and low sodium.

Need a Time-Out?

Got a hyper kid on your hands? Whatever the cause, there are ways you can keep him from climbing the walls. Mental Health Matters suggests teaching your toddler how to take deep breaths to combat frustration and anxiety. And mom isn't the only one who can benefit from a warm bubble bath -- a soak in the tub can soothe hyper children as well. Follow a bath with a little massage and you'll probably have a drowsy tyke instead of a crazy one. You can also try taking your little one for a walk to work out his wiggles or channeling all that wild energy into a creative outlet by offering games, puzzles, coloring books or jewelry-making kits.

About the Author

Brooke Julia has been a writer since 2009. Her work has been featured in regional magazines, including "She" and "Hagerstown Magazine," as well as national magazines, including "Pregnancy & Newborn" and "Fit Pregnancy."

Photo Credits

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