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I have never liked Halloween, now even less so. I think mom has a sugar addiction and I try to keep her candy intake to a minimum. But this morning, at her hair appointment the stylist gave her a mini candy bar, then mom got another one, maybe two. When we first got in the car she wanted to go buy more candy. I told her we couldn't do that. She became quite angry, wanted me to take her to a place where she can take care of herself.

This is not the first time this has happened when she has candy. The problem is she wants more and more and more. She would eat a whole bag without realizing how much she has had. I really think she has a sugar addiction that causes this aggressive behavior. Anybody else ever see this?

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This is an older post but I will add that chocolate contains caffeine. So a full size chocolate bar or a couple of "junior" size can give a nice "jolt" (not to mention the sugar) to anyone but may make a dementia patient aggressive.
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I've not seen aggressive behavior but my husband sure has changed his food likes and dislikes. He loves his sweets but doesn't like his old favorite dinners. Wants all kinds of fruits and vegetables now , couldn't persuade him to eat much of either before . My brother-in-law has dimentia and his tastes have changed also , must be common. moanddo
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So I remember one of the great freedoms of adulthood was being able to have a candy bar whenever I wanted, without anyone to tell me "no", so I can understand your Mom's frustration.
That said, what is going on with your Mom may be very real on a chemical level -- a dose of sugar can cause a spike, then DROP of blood sugar as insulin produced by the body addresses the sugar overload (creating a "pendulum", where every candy bar creates the desire for another candy bar).
You might try a food diversion - even another special treat like ice cream or junk food hamburger. Adding fat and carbs can dampen the insulin drop (not to mention, sometimes it's fun to be "bad").
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They're called sugar tantrums.

Healthy treats are a good substitute (nuts, especially almonds, are great here), and we try to give them out before a tantrum starts. It also means the person is getting healthy calories, and the energy from that lasts for much longer (which reduces cravings and increases nutritional intake in the long term).

If the person isn't actually hungry, then they forget the tantrum quickly enough. Distraction works well - it's one of the few useful things from no short-term memory.

Sugar is one of the more addictive substances out there. It can take 40 days to 'kick the habit' (i.e. lose the cravings). You'll need to weigh up the cost to decide whether it's worth the effort. Sugar can be a real problem if it ends up as a meal replacement (eating chocolate just before dinner is a common one), which can lead to rapid weight loss and then osteoporosis if let unchecked.
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I've noticed that when mom starts getting grumpy or listless, I give her a bit of candy and she perks up and balances out. They have done studies associating low blood sugar with vascular dementia.
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Tell you what ... I've noticed it several times already ... she (ma) gets a bag of candy, and the screaming jags get much worse until that sugar wears off!! I swear I have to figure some way to limit the candy that she buys "to last awhile" but then gets eaten in a cpl of days ... with me paying for it w/her awful outbursts that can last & last ............
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They actually crave sugar, but my experience has been hyped up and aggressive behaviors follow high sugar intact. So we watch the sugar intact and use other sweet alternatives. I had one Huntingtons Disease resident who was given a case of Dove bars by his sister because he had "so few joys in life" according to her. However, he was attacking the nurses and really out of control with his emotions. Once off the sugar surges, he dramatically became more his real self.
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my mom, who is 97 has little candy bars in the drawer next to her bed. she knows i don't want her eating a bunch of them at bedtime because it seems when she does she doesn't sleep well. She sneaks them and hides them in her bed and denies eating them. the evidence is there though. I have started giving her 2 or 3 during the day, especially after meals and she doesn't seem to be as bad. That and i moved her stash further away from her bed.
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I feel like sweets are all my mother ever eats. I don't think it impacts her mood, but she was always moody anyway.
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People (e.g. caregivers) are not behavioral scientists, so they often do not put two and two together linking sugar to challenging behaviors in persons with dementia. However, there is a literature with children, that shows a causal link between excessive sugar intake and misbehavior.
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I do not know about the candies...but, my husband is diabetic,and so his sugar intake is limited. Or else he becomes upset or irritated depending on his blood sugar level, and blood pressure. I still give him a tiny chocolate candy from time to time, and he enjoys it.
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Thank you for all your answers. I certainly understand those of you that will give candy and sweets. But, in my case I definitely see changes in mom's behavior in the form of aggression, so will continue to restrict these as much as possible. If she would be content and satisfied with a piece or two, I would probably feel differently. But one leads to intense craving for more and behavior becomes out of control.
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Yes, we had a person with Huntington's Disease who was aggressive, hyper active and attacking nurses. No medication seemed to help other than turning him into a Zombie. Then I asked the staff to carefully monitor his food intake for a week including what his relatives gave him. His sister was bringing him a case of Dove bars twice a week. So when we eliminated that his behavior dramatically changed.
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Thanks, Book
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My Dad is 92 and has diabetes. He really does not feel like eating much anymore and it is a struggle to get him to have some lunch at all. But....if I ask if he would like a piece of chocolate candy after dinner he says "sure" everytime and with that same enthusiasm as a previous caregiver had spoken about! I too feel at this age he should be allowed to have what tastes good to him in moderation. I try to have some cereal bars around with chocolate or chocolate supplement drinks for lunch. Its hard to know what to do but he does seem to be ok with some kind of candy after dinner. Now, if I can just monitor his late night ice cream raids! It is quite a challenge for all of us.
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Gladim - I remember reading another's poster's comments that when her mom eats sweets, her behavior changes. That's how she knew that the paid caregiver was giving candy to her mom. Anyway, I did a search here on AC and found something in which 2 posters kind of back you up about sweets changing their parent's behavior:

Look for comments by deefer12 and brianNC
https://www.agingcare.com/questions/elder-will-only-eat-sweet-food-139115.htm
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I appreciate every comment and understand those of you that will give them candy and sweets. And believe me if my mom would be content with a little bit then I would give it to her. But after a little bit she becomes obsessed with getting more. She becomes combative and angry with everyone and talks about just leaving. I really think it is an addiction with her. Also when she has too much of just about anything, she has explosive bathroom issues so I watch her diet very carefully.
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I say my husband doesn't have a sweet tooth, he has a full set...I have tried limiting sweets because of the ill affect they have on Alzheimer's, but you know what? My husband doesn't enjoy much these days, he's been diagnosed since he was 64, early onset mild, six years dealing with this disease, he's earned his sweets, he doesn't have diabetes and will succumb to Alzheimer's in the long run...he is in a clinical trial for Crezenumab and the M.D. In charge said let him have his candy...I have the sweetest, kindest husband in the world, only in the beginning, before medication did he ever exhibit anger or aggressiveness...
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One thing that happens with the neurons of dementia patients is that their neurons and astrocytes looks to be impaired to metabolize glucose to makes from the glucose the ATP that they need as an energy source.
I guess (this is only a hypothesis) that by instinct their brains lead they to a "sugar craving " trying get more energy from the candies.
But no matter how much sugar the dementia patients eats, their brain still will be in a "starving mode" once their neurons can not metabolize all that sugar (or glucose) to ATP, and they still will search for more candies, still without succcessmto gets energy from that lots of sugar.
I guess that her agressiviness comes when you try (based in your justified concerns) to stop her to get the sugar that her brain is asking for, making her very frustated and nervous.
Wnen we read about ketones and Alzheimer searching in Google, we can read articles that shows that dementia brains are in energy deprivation.
I suggest you to search for thesite lf dlctor Mary Newport about coconut oil where you can find a detailed explanation .
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For many years my mother wouldn't eat anything sugary. Now, in the the past few months she wants it every day. She doesn't eat very much from her meals saying they don't taste good and will drown them in salt....so, if she wants sweets I give them. I do also make her smoothies from veggies and fruit, so at least she gets some vutamins.
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My mom has dementia but not diabetes. She loves her M&Ms and they make her happy. At her age I let her eat the M&Ms.
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My mom is 93 and loves her sweets. She doesn't have dementia or diabetes. So I always have cookies, ice cream, candy and usually pie or cake available to her. She's losing weight these days (despite my best efforts to keep her eating enough to maintain her weight), so I figure any calorie is a good calorie. My cousin, who is a nurse, agrees with me.

In your situation, I'd have candy or cookies, but buy in small boxes or individual bars, so that your mom can eat "all of it" but it's a small quantity. If she had some every day, maybe it wouldn't be such a big deal to her when she gets it. As others have said, our sweet tooth is the last one to go, so I figure I want to give my mom what she enjoys for as long as possible.
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Mom likes her sweets as well. At 90+ I figure she can eat anything she wants. But she does not have any health issues except dementia. She is in better shape physically than me.
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My understanding is that the "sweet" taste buds are some of the last to go. That the other foods begin to taste very bland to them and that is why they desire sweets so often.
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Sometimes when Dad wants ice cream we give him yogurt and tell him it;s pudding! He loves it and it does the job for the sweet tooth while being a bit healthier
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My Dad has a sweet of some sort at "snack time" every day, at about 2 PM. It's usually several cookies (today he ate 5 because Mom freshly baked them!) and a cup of hot chocolate. He'll eat his snack even on days when he won't eat all of his lunch or supper or refuses a meal entirely. He likes certain types of chocolate candy -- it must have nuts or something crunchy in it. His favorite is KitKats. If he won't eat a meal, or if he's not in a very good mood, all you have to do is offer him a KitKat and his eyes light up! I agree with several of the other posters -- Dad is 80 years old and does not have diabetes. If he wants sweets let him have them!
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I agree with pink! My mum has diabetes and I let her have the odd treat as long as she eats at least 2 balanced meals a day. Shes never eaten sweets but likes apple tart or fruit loaf. When I had her on a very strict diet she was having so many hypos and the geriatrician agreed with me that when youre too strict theres problems ive learnt to keep a balance and her bloods are ok.
I think at thier age let them at it its the only pleasure they have my mums life is so boring i let her have a treat when she asks.
a few sweets is no harm! When I get older im going to eat what I want!!
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My hubby and I joke we never had so many sweets in the house until he and mom moved in....
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dad has diatetes, we try to keep an eye on his sweets because hesneaks them! He only gets cranky if we cut him off...
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Thanks, Pink. But the problem begins when she is not satisfied with just one. Wasn't it Lay's Potato Chips that had the slogan you can't eat just one?
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