Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Art

First Advisor

Charles E. Orme-Rogers

Second Advisor

Rebecca Glenn

Third Advisor

Rita Gram


An experiment was conducted to determine whether reduced sugar diets improve learning and/or alter behavior in normal children . The 14 Ss--seven males and seven females- -were elementary school students, ranging in age from 8.01 to 10.06, matched for age, sex, race, and SES, and screened for med i cation and learning disabilities . They were sequentially assigned to low- sugar and usual diet groups for two - and four- week periods . In a pretest-pottest design, assessment instruments were a paired- associate (PA) learning task and a Nutrition Behavior Inventory {NBI) . The pretest mean NB! indicated at least some sugar -related symptoms in the Ss. One-way analyses of variance (ANOVAs) for the low- sugar diet versus the usual diet on NBI scores, as well as trials -to-criteria and number correct on PA scores showed insignificant results. A two-way ANOVA for sex and the low- sugar diet versus the usual diet on NBI scores was insignificant . Likewise, a two-way ANOVA for SES and the low- sugar diet versus the usual diet proved insignificant . A multiple regression analyzing the effects of age, sex, race, and SES on NBI, PA number -correct scores, and PA trials-to-criteria scores showed significant correlations. It was concluded that two- and four-week low-sugar diets have no effect on normal children 1s learning and behavior . The possibility that the children were experiencing residual effects from earlier sugar ingestion, which influenced their posttest scores , was discussed. Further experimentation using one-, two-, and three-month diet periods was recommended .

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