How Does Sugar Effect Focus And Brain Functionality?

based on 20 ratings
Author: Sharon Cooper

Chemistry, Neuroscience


Middle School/High School

Difficulty of Project



$10-$100 depending on number of participants

Safety Issues

Possible safety issues.  Make sure none of the participants are diabetic.

Material Availability

Easily available from the internet or library.

Approximate Time Required to Complete the Project

At least a day.


To understand how sugar effects brain chemistry. 

Materials and Equipment / Ingredients

  • An IQ test
  • A test of focus 


There has been much debate over how sugar affects the minds of young people in America. Sugar has been banned in schools in Palo Alto, and in New York. Is sugar actually causing children to be hyperactive and ill attentive? Or is sugar improving their attention span and their IQ? 

Research Questions
  • How does sugar affect a person’s IQ?
  • How does sugar affect a person’s focus? 
Terms, Concepts and Questions to Start Background Research
  • How can you test focus?
  • How can you test IQ?
  • What is the effect of sugar on the brain?
  • What is the average amount of sugar that Americans eat every day? 

Experimental Procedure

  1. Find a group of participants for this study.
  2. Divide this group in two. Tell both groups to track everything they eat for an entire day. a. Instruct Group A to eat nothing containing sugar. b. Instruct Group B to eat anything they want, as long as they write it down.
  3. After a day of eating only the allowed foods, ask each participant to take an IQ test and a test of focus level. Also, ask for the list they have made of what they ate. a. Calculate the sugar levels in all the foods on the list. b. Score the IQ test and the test pertaining to focus levels. 


McGonigal, Kelly. “Sugar Addiction in Your Body, Not Just Your Mind.” Psychology Today. Dec 8, 2009.
Wolraich, ML; Wilson, DB; White, JW. “The Effect of Sugar on Behavior or Cognition in Children.” March 1996.
Report of a Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation. “Sugar and Human Behavior.”  1998. FAO Corporate Document Repository.
Not a citable source, but a useful place to start your research
Sugar and Learning Problems in Students? Google Answers. July 8, 2004.


Add your own comment