Sunday, April 13, 2008

ADHD or Too Much Chocolate Cake

My favorite chocolate cake--not pictured here although this one looks pretty scrumptious--has a whopping 3 cups of sugar, not including the frosting.

Just writing about it makes me swoon! (It's the Southern Georgia Chocolate Pound Cake from a 1967 issue of "Gourmet Magazine.")

Email me at and I'll send you the recipe! And then if you're worried about protein, I'll also send you the recipe I picked up at a health fair for a chocolate cake made with garbanzo beans and a skimpy 1/2 cup of sugar.

Given it's nutritional value, the garbanzo bean cake is actually quite good. And there's no reason you need to tell anyone about the garbanzo beans!

Sinfully rich or protein-packed nutritious? Your choice. Just let me know what you want. Yes, you can have both recipes.

BTW, dark chocolate's actually good for you but that's for another post. And speaking of chocolate, Milton Hershey, himself, was said to have ADHD. Or did he just eat too much of his own company's candy for a sugar high?

Talk about ADHD rambling, lets get to the point here. After all this isn't a chocolate cake recipe exchange blog or a story about Milton Hershey.

Too much sugar causes hyperactivity and insomnia. A child can end up with the ADHD label simply from eating too much sugar every single day. Although scientists are slow to "prove" this, nearly every teacher and parent I know attests to having kids who're hyped up on sugar.

Take my grandkids. There we were happily making a 3-D cookie Christmas tree. Lots of fun and lots of sugar. Making it look like a "real" tree involved FOUR tubes of ghastly green icing.

Each kid had to have their own tube of green gunk to use for decorating--the cookies, the table, their grandmother, and themselves. And then making it look like a "real" Christmas tree involved several small jars of sprinkles, red hots, and other sugary miniatures.

Finally to get the cookies to stay stacked on top of each in some form that vaguely resembled a tree involved using more of the green gunk--sugar-rich edible glue.

I'm here to tell you that eating a chunk of tree caused not a little hyperactivity! (Just between us, the thing wasn't nearly yummy enough to sacrifice calm or calories.)

Sugar's everywhere. Not just in candy, soft drinks, cake, and cookies. It’s also in most cereal, several brands of yogurt, some bread, muffins—just about anything that comes in a box or a carton. And kids are eating way too much of it. (As are their parents, grandparents, and teachers.)

Don't be fooled by the health food section at your grocery store. Plenty of sugar in lots of stuff called health food or organic or natural. And beware: high sugar often substitutes for low fat.

So what’s a parent to do? What’s a teacher to plan for party or snack time?

Read the label! Teach kids how to read the label. Make a label-reading game. A contest. Who can find the cereal at the grocery store that has the least amount of sugar? Or the cereal that has sugar closest to the bottom of the list of ingredients.

If sugar is first or second in the list of ingredients, it’s too much sugar.

And teach kids all those sneaky sugar words like glucose and sucrose. If it ends in “os” or “ol,” it’s probably sugar. I thought I knew all the code words for sugar until I found the list of no less than 30 sugar words.

Now ask yourself: Does this child have ADHD or is it an ongoing sugar high?


P.S. And yes, the grandkids also devoured a garbanzo bean chocolate cake. So kids will eat something that's good for them as long as you don't call it broccoli.

P.P. S. Looking for a bunch of tips to tame ADHD--from Brain Gym to nutrition, from what to sit on to computer games that help ADHD? Subscribe to the ADHD NewsTips. They're free.

They're brain boosters that benefit kids who don't have ADHD--and you too. You'll get a short, use-it-right-now tip every 3 days in email for a whole year. That's 156 tips for taming ADHD!

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