Can too much sugar cause a non-diabetic to become angry and bitter?


My mother in-law has become very bitter and angry lately and it seems to coincide with an increase in her consumption of Sprite and orange juice. It;s all she drinks lately. And my father in-law refuses to make coffee anymore, he will only make hot chocolate and for breakfast it's french toast with no protein at all. He refuses to cook bacon or sauce or eggs to go with it. I seem to recall someone telling e once that as the dementia advances they get to a point where they only want sweets.

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"Control" being the operative word........
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I know from my experience that when my sugar/carbs level (insulin level) goes down, I either get agitated or twitchy (nervous). I always feel better if I keep my sugar levels even---which is not the same thing as high--- by eating complex sugars or carbs---- fruit, wheat breads-- basically trying to stay away from processed foods with white flour and white sugar, if you can slowly change her diet, might help. Also let her doctor know in case something else is going on, You know, could be she just wants some control in her life and this is the control factor she chose. Good luck!
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Oh--forgot--some medications, or combinations of meds, can cause tempers to flare.
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Lots of good info above.
I would add:
Plenty studies prove sugar, and sugar-forming foods, create inflammatory responses in the body.
If there are already inflammatory issues in your elders, and they eat more sugar stuff, inflammation increases, aggravating existing conditoins, causing greater pain, which can dispose them to be crankier, at the very least.
BUT, as with ADHD in children, there are still questions whether sugar actually makes tempers worse.
One simply must experience seeing it happen, to believe it--but it is not so for all cases.
It might be, your Elders could be responding to sugars with tempers.
OR it could be something losses, or frustrations over inability to do things they used to do.
OR it could be a signal of increasing dementia conditions.
OR a sign of stroke or other decrease in oxygen to the brain.
Might want further evaluation.
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bilmo2012, I have had a url removed from one of my posts as well -- not the entire post, just the link. I think this is something the site administrator does, perhaps with the automated help of software.

Links have got to be a huge challenge to site administrators. They can monitor the content someone posts and try to ensure there is no bigotry, profanity, threats, and other inappropriate text, but must they also check out every link to be sure it is not obscene or terroristic or ... you get the idea. So many discussion sites simply remove links. Nothing personal.

I can't speak for AgingCare, and I'm only offering a general observation.
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My wife has AD late stage 5 or early 6. When I asked our PCP and Neuro about her craving for sweets (not abnormal for AD) they both responded so what?
Both said she's not diabetic, not grossly overweight, so who cares. At this stage if her cholesterol or weight goes up that's a minor problem compared to treating her anger and agitation if you deny her sweets so just concentrate on keeping her happy
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My Mom has diabetes and some dementia and I have noticed that when her blood sugar is higher than normal she gets upset and mean to my Dad.
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You're right - it seems that as they age they only want sweet foods, and if they have had a lifetime habit of eating them, especially exclusively, then this is all they crave. Are you sure she is not diabetic? My mother is but denies it and tells drs. and nurses that she is, but "controls it with food" - a total lie.
She lived alone for about 40 yrs. and ate with abandon, ate anything she wanted when she wanted and refused to test her blood sugar, as she was told to do.
She also wouldn't pay for the test strips.
Now any food that I make has to have sweet stuff with it. I'm monitoring her diet for sugar and salt, because that is what the dr. told me to do, however, she sabotages it at every turn by going out to eat (her favourite activity), trying to get her bathing lady to smuggle in chocolate bars and baked goods, hoards sweets in her room and in her drawers, closets and coat pockets......I've caught her lying about and eating these foods in her room.
Any dinner that I make (for example, chicken cutlets) has to be smothered with some kind of sweet sauce, or she won't eat it. Turkey MUST be accompanied by cranberry sauce, or it is left on the plate. She demands fruit three times a day for the sweetness, and leaves apples and pears til they are almost rotten, because she knows that the riper they are, the sweeter they are.
When she first came to stay with us she tried to finagle my daughters into bringing her LifeSavers and chocolate bars. And G-d help you if you ever say to her, I'm going to the store, do you need anything? Because you'll get a list of sweet junk to pick up for her.....
If you read other threads you will see that, because I try to monitor her foods, she reported me for "elder abuse" because she wasn't getting her own way with the foods - to eat what she wanted, when she wanted, as much as she wanted.
Her rationale is that she's lived this long eating the way she wants, if she isn't dead by now, etc. etc. etc. I answer back - why do you think you've had three heart attacks and three blocked arteries and now have full-blown diabetes? (family history of it). Of course that is all waved off.
The only way to get them to comply is to have someone in a position of authority - ie their family dr. or a specialist - to warn them about their diet. But even then, there is no guarantee that they will "do as they're told". They just delight in telling others that you are "mean" and "withholding food".
So get ready for a bumpy ride!! If they don't get "their" sugar, they are cranky......and if they get it, they are "cranky" so there is no winning!!
Even when my mother was in the hospital it was "oh I'd just love a doughnut"
"Can't you pop down to the coffee shop? I'm craving a butter tart" "I don't see why I can't have some coffee cake" on and on and on.........
My argument is that I have to but up against people and my family saying "Oh leave her alone - she's almost 87 and she's old and sick! Let her have what she wants!" Why should I? and then have to be at the brunt of her rude and bossy behaviour because she's acting worse than a small child?
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My "lay person" guess is : It gives them more energy to BE angry! :)
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With or without dementia, taste buds erode as we age, and sweet is one of the last things we can continue to taste, so it is not surprising that many elders develop a sweet tooth.

Good nutition contributes to good health, of course. Orange juice is healthier than Sprite because it has some nutrients in addition to sugar. Hot chocolate made with milk has more nutrition than coffee. My husband wants hot chocolate every day, and I make it with whole milk and Carnation Essentials (which used to be called Instant Breakfast). When I make French Toast I figure that two slices are the equivalent of two slices of bread and an egg, which is not a terrible breakfast. I'm trying to get as many calories as I can into underweight Hubby, so syrup is just fine with me. (I don't know about the French toast your in-laws eat. Do they make it themselves or buy frozen? Read the package label to see the nutrional values. My homemade version has about 10 grams of proteirn per 2-slice serving.)

I know of no studies that link sugar consumption to being angry and bitter. The real problem with sugar is that it has no nutritional value other than calories and eating a lot of it either crowds out the more nutritional items or is eaten in addition to the good-for-us stuff, which can lead to being overweight.

How is your in-laws weight? How are their appetites? Do they eat generally nutritious foods?

Which of your in-laws has dementia? How long have they had it/how severe is it?

How much control do you have over what they eat? I take it they are not living in your house. I think you might have best success in your quest to see them eat healthier if you let them eat what they want to eat, but try to encourage healthier versions. Orange juice, apple juice, cranberry cocktail -- maybe mixed with ginger ale or Sprite sometimes -- all provide nutrients. Eating an orange is even better. Hot chocolate? Try a Carnation chocolate powder in milk, or at least a kind that is made with milk. Sausage and bacon are not really terrific health foods as they tend to be high in fat and salt -- I wouldn't fret if they are not eating them. Do they like cheese or cottage cheese?

As for the anger and bitterness, that probably has some other cause that needs to be addressed in some other way in addition to a healthy diet.
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