Sugar and performance

In last week’s article we investigated the role Type II food allergies can play for some children’s behaviour problems in school. We learned that Type II food allergies cause a delayed reaction induced by the overproduction of the IgG antibody. Elevations of IgG chronic inflammation, especially when they are a response to foods or environmental substances a child is exposed to on a daily basis. The symptoms of Type II allergies can be very broad. The most common symptoms include brain fog, fatigue, malaise, headaches, joint pain, abdominal discomfort, gas, bloating, constipation, eczema, and other chronic inflammatory skin concerns. The best way to identify Type II food allergies is a blood test that measures IgG elevation in response to each individual food or environmental agent. In this week’s article, we will investigate the role of sugar in poor school performance.

Excess sugar consumption can cause behaviour spikes. This is relatively easy to identify after a child has too much sugar and then gets overactive. Their behaviour often changes towards the aggressive and their coping skills decrease. Another less obvious symptom of excess sugar that I’d like to focus on in this article is fatigue/malaise accompanied by poor stamina. Some school aged children consume too many carbohydrates compared to proteins and fats. They may not be eating too much pure sugar but they are getting too much unopposed carbohydrates. This leads to a decrease in blood sugar about 1-2 hours after eating and it coincides with poor concentration and poor school performance 1-2 hours after breakfast or lunch.


Most parents realize that sugar in excess almost always has some consequence. I meet very few patients who purposefully feed themselves or their children excess sugar because of how widespread this knowledge is. However, I meet many parents who are UNKNOWINGLY feeding their children excess sugar and they are not recognizing the consequences.

The most basic way children are exposed unknowingly to too much sugar is via low protein and fat consumption. Most of the staples in a child’s diet are high carbohydrate, low protein, and low fat foods like cereal, juice, bread, pasta, fruit, and convenience snacks like granola bars. These foods are often very high in sugar and many even list sugar as the first ingredient. It’s a good idea to investigate the sugar content of the foods you feed your child and make sure you limit these types of foods. Look at adding higher protein foods like hummus, greek yogurt, and protein-rich smoothies to their diet.

I wanted to start this article with a longer summary of last week’s article than I normally would write. This is because testing for IgG is not only a way to identify allergens but it’s also a way to shed some light on how the body responds to a few non-allergenic items. Sugar is one of these items. All carbohydrates are composed of chains of sugar. This includes all of our fruits, veggies, and starches. We also produce various types of sugar in our bodies. It’s not possible to be truly allergic to sugar because of how ubiquitous it is in our bodies. However, many children (adults too) over-produce IgG in response to high sugar exposure. This IgG production amplifies and alters the other harmful effects of excess sugar. Knowing if your child responds with excess IgG to sugar exposure can help us determine how strict we should be with sugar exposure.

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About the Author

Dr. Brent Barlow is a Naturopathic Physician practicing at The Kelowna Wellness Clinic in downtown Kelowna. Dr. Barlow has been in practice in Kelowna since graduating from the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in Vancouver in 2009.

Naturopathic Doctors are trained as primary care physicians, and primarily use natural medicine to treat disease and promote wellness. Dr. Barlow believes strongly in identifying and treating the causes of disease rather than focusing on the treatment of symptoms.

Naturopathic medicine utilizes diet therapy, botanical medicine, nutritional supplementation, acupuncture, spinal manipulation and other physical medicine treatments to treat the causes of disease. Dr. Barlow also trained in the specialized treatments of prolotherapy, neural therapy, intravenous nutrient infusions, and chelation therapy.

Dr. Barlow is in general practice and welcomes all individuals and families. As a naturopathic physician he is trained to treat all health conditions in the manner that best suits the goals of each individual patient. He also has special interests in natural treatments for pain management and digestive health.

To learn more about Dr. Barlow's treatments or to schedule a consultation, visit his website at www.drbrentbarlownd.com or call 250-448-5610.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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