The calm before the sugar storm
I am now one week into my sugar and depression experiment and the last few days have been quite encouraging.
To recap, I have always had a sweet tooth but recently I seem to have relied more and more on sweets, cakes, chocolates and the like as comforters. I have also found that I really craved sugar, especially at particular times of the day.
Although I was vaguely aware of the mood-affecting properties of sugar, I chose to ignore what I knew in the face of my cravings (perhaps greed is a more honest word).
So, after several weeks of quite significant mood swings and some hasty research, I decided to try quitting sugar.
The first two or three days were quite unsettling and involved a major negative shift in my mood. But since then it has settled. Overall, except for one episode, I have felt calmer, less irritable and more balanced than I have for a while.
You can see this recovery in my Optimism mood chart. The red line in the upper chart represents my mood.
The ‘episode’ occurred this morning, when I ate a bowl of cornflakes. I thought nothing of it until about 15 minutes later when I was suddenly stressing out and shouting at my daughter. (She did shout at me first, I should hasten to add. But then she is only 3, so perhaps I’m slightly more culpable.)
Anyway, I must be a nutritional cretin, because it was only when my wife said “you know those cornflakes are full of sugar”, that I realized what I’d done.
Quite how “full of sugar”, a bowl of this particular cereal is, I don’t know. But the website Sugarstacks.com provides some graphic illustrations of the sugar hidden in our foods by showing how much sugar, measured in 4 gram sugar cubes, each items contains. How about these examples:
- A standard size Snickers bar contains the equivalent of 7.5 sugar cubes;
- A standard 350ml can of Coke contains the equivalent of 10 sugar cubes.
Of course, it’s impossible to say whether the sugar in the cornflakes is really to blame for my mood swing. But, it was certainly a strange and sudden shift, especially as I had actually thought that I was feeling quite calm when I got up this morning.
I’m pleased to say that my daughter forgave me. I just need to work on forgiving myself – and on reading cereal packets and thinking in terms of 4 gram sugar cubes.
Check out the final part of the experiment here
There are lots of quite obvious ‘sugar’ songs (Sugar, Sugar by the Archies, Sugar Mama by Led Zeppelin), but I think, in the circumstances, this post can do no better than end with this rather apt quote I am the Walrus:
“Sitting on a cornflake, waiting for the van to come”
from the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour album
Go to Part 1 of the Sugar and Depression experiment
Go to Part 2 of the Sugar and Depression experiment
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