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Ben’s son goes psycho when he eats sugar

By Robyn Openshaw, MSW | Jun 17, 2012

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.

Posted in: Nutrition, Parenting, Weight Management

6 thoughts on “Ben’s son goes psycho when he eats sugar”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I thought I was crazy when I linked sugar to anxiety. Nice in a kinda sick way to know I am not alone. 🙂 We have cut out meat, dairy, and sugar this year and I let the kids (I have five) have a small piece of cake after their piano recital.. they felt so horrible and had tummy aches for hours. They all decided it was not worth it. Love it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi Robyn, been enjoying all your recipes and info that you share. I am happy and looking forward to trying the butter pecan ice cream recipe pretty soon( it was my favorite before going vegan 5 years ago) Anyway, I recently heard on a health radio talk show that all pecans are now irradiated and that’s dreadful; whereas before, they were one of the highly, if not the MOST highly, nutritious nuts out there; and now due to irradiation all nutritional value is zonked out! What a shame. I was hoping this was not correct info and wondering if you heard about this? Is it a rumor or is it a fact? Please let me know what you’ve heard and found out regarding this disturbing news. Thanks much and may God continue to bless you and yours.

    1. Robyn Openshaw, MSW says:

      Michelle, all of them in Cali are now PASTEURIZED (and fumigated), not irradiated. So we have a way of obtaining a quantity in Cali in our Oct / Nov group buy, and they are totally raw, and we freeze them for 3 days to kill any bugs rather than allowing the grower to chemically fumigate.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Correction on that above note–not PECANS, but all ALMONDS are now irradiated. Sorry about that–I guess I had ‘pecans’ on the brain at that moment I was typing. Anyway, please inform us what you’ve heard on the subject of ALMONDS being irradiated Robyn!! Thanks again!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    My sweet little 4 year old goes nuts when I give her sugar. I have found the more that we avoid it the worse my kids react to it. Sometimes is makes me feel bad. I know lots of people think I’m extreme, but I am doing what I think is best for my kids…even if it makes me a bit uptight at family parties! Thanks for all you do! My dad has recently made a switch to whole foods and a brother in law with 2 chronic illnesses just started green smoothies this week. I haven’t been pushing it at all, just doing my own thing. They both came to me and asked about it. Such a wonderful change!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hi Robyn, thanks for answering my question about ‘irradiated almonds’–Sounds like you all over there in Cali at your co-op have a great healthy co-op plan. The talk show host must have been mistaken because he said all almonds in US are now irradiated. Anyway, I’m curious to know what’s used to fumigate them and purpose of fumigation. Very interesting about the freezing process for three days to get rid of any bugs!! lol

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