Recently my friend Ben was telling me a story about his younger son who has a completely insane reaction to sugar. Ben and his ex-wife are normally vigilant about keeping Alex and sugar faaaaarrr apart.
Ben said, “But it was spring break, and I was with my buddy, and I just thought, what the heck. And I let him have a soda, and then another one. And a dessert too.”
He then described how Alex was bouncing off the walls. I mean, he was LITERALLY bouncing around a restaurant. Boing! Boing! Boing!
Went over to a wall and leaped off his feet to bang on thirty posts in a row, one at a time. People staring, mouths hanging open.
After a while, he came over and put his head in Ben’s lap and went into some kind of half-asleep trance. Then he got up and acted completely mentally ill for a while—like a schizophrenic. Muttering to himself, ranting, lost in his own world, very possibly mildly psychotic. The whole episode lasted about two hours.
I laughed so hard at the story I almost fell out of my bed, talking to Ben on the phone. “I’ll bring Alex over sometime, and we’ll feed him sugar—you HAVE to see this!” Ben said.
“NO, we’re not going to make your son sick and psychotic for our entertainment!” I said, feeling pretty guilty about even laughing at the story like I did. (Because is it really that funny?)
“Seriously, though,” Ben tells me, “we should get a video and show it to your readers. NOBODY would feed their kid sugar if they could see this. It’s insane.”
Again, we can’t do that—I’m sure Ben’s ex-wife would LOVE that, exploiting her kid running in circles and then snoring in public, then being psychotic for an hour—to document the effect of sugar.
(I love how I’m always having to explain to my single guy friends, the perspective of the mom! FYI, I advocate for you everywhere, ex-wives. Well, and wives, for that matter!)
You have to understand that Alex is a completely normal, well behaved 9-year old usually.
And that’s just it. Alex has this behaviorally manifested reaction to sugar. But we all are building up insulin resistance. We all struggle metabolically if we eat sugar—with no energy for anything else except righting the tipped-over organism. Organs malfunctioning. Wires crossing.
We are ALL having a psychotic reaction at a cellular level. There is chaos in the body while many systems struggle valiantly to right themselves, when we drink a soda or eat dessert—or worse, BOTH.
Just because it’s not as visual, obvious, and amusing as Alex’s reaction, doesn’t mean WE are somehow having a more-sane reaction to pumping acid into our stomach. No one’s body recognizes soda as good food.
And we’re surprised when—like I told you a few months ago Matthew discovered—after his late-night, five-candy-bar binge after six months off sugar—we can’t lift our arms to dance, the next day at Zumba.
(My children’s teams want to feed the athletes, after a soccer match, exactly what Alex ate. Soda and dessert. Definition of INSANITY.)
By the way, back on the Sugar Bet for a few months now…..I am so much happier. Not disappointed with myself. Lost four pounds….took me weeks! Anxiety that always comes with eating sugar, gone. Skin back to normal.
It wasn’t even an issue in the all-you-can-eat, three-times-a-day resort we stayed at in Cancun over spring break. I didn’t even look at the dessert bar, ever. So nice to have the decision made, definitively, so there’s no agonizing, or self-loathing.
And my hard learning experience drove gratitude home for me—I don’t resent the sugar ban. After all, it’s self-imposed. For my own darn good. It’s a good thing.
If I ever forget, I’ll go watch Ben’s son Alex for a while.