Jen Warman: New Freakin' Mummy


This Is Your Brain. This Is Your Brain On Sugar.


Brain on Sugar

Last night, Pregnant Me wanted some M&M's. It's wasn't really a pregnancy craving—I don't seem to get those—but I'm going to label it as such because it justifies me sending my mom to the store to get me some.

When she returned home with the chocolaty purchase, I quickly opened the bag and shoved some in my mouth. But I wasn't quick enough. Cole saw me, and he wanted some, too. 

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"Okay fine." So I poured a very small handful onto the counter. There were probably less than ten M&Ms. 

He began shoveling the coloured treats into his mouth faster than Rob Ford can smoke a crack pipe, and in an instant, they were gone. He wanted more, but I was smart enough to hide the bag while his eyes were glazed over in an eating frenzy.

"All gone," I said. I wiped the blue food colouring from the corner of his mouth, and we went into the living room to play. 

Then, the strangest thing happened. 

About ten to twenty minutes after consuming the sugary treat (which he never has), my smart and affectionate little boy turned into the Tasmanian Devil. 

He ran up to my mom who was sitting on the couch, and he bit her leg. Then he laughed maniacally and ran away before we could catch him.

He ran up to my husband, and hit him over the head. Then he hit my dad, and me, and kicked the cat. We made our best efforts to calm him, "No Cole, we don't hit! We don't bite!" But we could see that our words were lost on him. He wasn't processing the information. He couldn't. He was malfunctioning before our very eyes! The sugar had affected the synapses in his brain. I had ruined my child with ten small M&Ms!

So we decided to do the only thing we could do: watch and laugh.

We each sat against a wall in the living room (my husband, parents and I) and we watched the comedy / horror show that was unfolding before our very eyes!

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After he assaulted us physically, he ran across the room to play with his toy drill. "Vroom, vroom."

Five seconds later, he threw himself to the floor and did a log-roll across the living room.

Then he picked up a piece of a puzzle, tried to figure it out for .3 seconds, gave up.

Dropped to the ground, did another log roll.


Jumped up.

Threw his arms out like an airplane and spun himself around in a circle until he got dizzy and fell.

Repeat x 3.

THEN FINALLY, IT WAS OVER. Well. Over-ish. It was 7:45 (past his bedtime), and I decided he had had enough time to "work this out of his system" and we took him upstairs to bed. 

I was half-laughing/half-horrified: IS THIS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN CHILDREN CONSUME SUGAR?!?! I'm not a scientist, but this is truly the only experiment I need to do. I've always known that your diet plays a huge role in your overall mental and physical health, but to see it have such an extreme effect on my son was shocking. I truly didn't recognize his behaviour. He didn't even seem like the same person—my husband noticed it the moment he came home from work. It was that obvious!

This isn't to say I will never allow our kids to consume sugary treats once in a while, but I will definitely be limiting their intake. It also made me question: was it the sugar alone, or the food colouring as well? I've read that food colouring can affect hyperactivity levels, so that is something to consider and look into, also.

Needless to say, when my son woke up in the morning as his normal sweet self, I was relieved to look into his calm blue eyes and gave him a giant kiss, followed by a giant bowl of home-made, sugar-free oatmeal.

Tell me, have you had any experiences where diet has affected your children's behaviour?