The Low Carb Luxury Newsletter: 
Volume III / Number 01: January 11, 2002: Page 7
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      Answering Letters
The Sugar "Bounce"

Dear Lora,
I have a son, Jarrod, who's nearly 6 and has become increasingly over-active. My family doctor suggested I see a specialist about medication for his hyperactivity, but I hate to see a child this young already on meds. On my own, (and because I've been looking into low-carbing) I tried taking the sugar out of his diet and I don't think it's my imagination that I am seeing quite an improvement. Do you hear this a lot? A friend of mine has her son on a ritalin like drug, but still feeds him sugar, sugar, sugar and they have to keep adjusting his meds. I don't want to follow in her footsteps.

On the other hand, my doctor's telling me that kids are naturally active and need the quick energy sugar brings. I am at a loss to know where to go with this...


Dear Maggie —

Sugar is a suspected culprit in hyperactivity in children and, it dosen't take much; less than two teaspoons can easily result in hyperactive behavior. According to a study published in the Journal of Behavioral Ecology, hyperactive behavior in children becomes markedly worse after high-sugar snacks or meals.

If you read their report at, they'll tell you that this is all a myth. But surely they have no bias, right?

Actually, Maggie, we've seen it time and time again. While sugar may not be the ONLY culprit, it does appear to exacerbate or trigger hyperactive episodes in many children, as do some artificial colors, and food allergens.

There's an excellent article from Christopher Hobbs online that you might want to read. And please let us know how Jarrod does!

The Plot (and the Sauce) Thickens

Dear Lora,
I read about the advantages of using xanthan gum and guar gum for thickening low carb gravies and sauces, but even though I purchased both and have tried valiantly to use them, I don't seem to be able to add them without getting a gloppy, lumpy mess. What am I missing?



Dear Emma —

It's one of those tricky things we all tackle when we first start using products that are not your run-of-the-mill grocery items. The trick with the gums is that because they require so little and work so quickly, they can't be added the way you'd add flour or cornstarch to a dish. I've found the easiest way is to sprinkle... a little at a time, whisking as you go, until you get the perfect thickness. I keep Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Arrowroot, and Not/Starch (an Expert Foods product) in small salt shakers on a shelf near my stove. By shaking them into the gravy or sauce in light powdery amounts, you almost never make a mistake! And because the gums are all fiber, you aren't adding carbs, flavor, or color to your final dish.


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