Monthly Archives: October 2015

The Dark Side of Sugar and Your Brain

sweet side

By: Tina Davidson

Halloween is almost here. For most kids, October 31 means costumes and CANDY!

This year my sons will be dressed as a father and son duo–Anakin Skywalker, aka Darth Vader, and Luke Skywalker. I’m sure they’ll be wielding their lightsabers to commandeer treats while using the Force to try to persuade me to allow them to eat sugar and stay up past their bedtime.

Should I worry too much about them having trouble falling asleep after eating a bag full of candy in the evening? Apparently, a new study has found that sugar may help out with sleep:

Contrary to parental belief, sugar may actually cause drowsiness, not hyperactivity. Key brain cells awash in glucose put mice to sleep, scientists report in the July 8 Journal of Neuroscience. (1)

I’m going to allow my children to eat a reasonable amount of candy (not in excess) since this article just came out and their falling asleep quickly is not 100% guaranteed. The key words of the study are “may actually cause drowsiness” so my kids will have to present me with a few more studies (done on humans) before I change this policy.

And my kids can forget about eating any candy with artificial colors or chemical sweeteners. There are studies that link artificial food dyes to hyperactivity (sometimes sugar is not solely to blame for kid craziness–check out the blog “Die, Food Dye!” for testimonials from parents with dye sensitive kids). So, I plan on letting my kids collect candy, but I’ll swap this candy out later for “mother-approved” candy they can eat (stuff they pick out ahead of time from Trader Joe’s). This tradition seems to make everyone happy.

Have a safe and fun Halloween!  May the Force be with you!

Hanging with Yoda at LEGOLAND for the day. Photo courtesy of Thea Gavin.

Hanging out with Yoda at LEGOLAND.

Further Reading

Do You Let Sugar Master Your Attention Span?

Check out the article, “Energy drinks significantly increase hyperactivity in schoolchildren, study finds” posted on February 9, 2015, at Science Daily:

Middle-school children who consume heavily sweetened energy drinks are 66% more likely to be at risk for hyperactivity and inattention symptoms, a new study led by the Yale School of Public Health has found.

Do or Do not. There is no Try When it Comes to Substituting Real Sugar for NAS

You may want to think twice before you choose a non-caloric artificial sweetener (NAS) and find out how it may affect your intestinal microbiota. Check out the article, “It’s Never Nice to Fool Mother Nature,” posted on Dr. Perlmutter’s blog.

Chris Kresser’s blog also has a post, “The Unbiased Truth About Artificial Sweeteners” from May 30, 2014, that is worth checking out. You can also find a free ebook on sweeteners on his website.

Do you Underestimate the Power of Sugar?

Some people complain of nightmares after eating a lot of sugar and some gain weight after eating a diet high in sugar. There are others who experience no ill effects after consuming lots of sugar. Maybe they just don’t notice any effects because it puts them to sleep? Check out the article, “What Sugar Does to Your Brain” by Dr. Scott Olson.

Scientific studies on the effects of sugar on the brain are sparse at best and most medical professionals and organizations will say that sugar has nothing to do with mood or hyperactivity. If you are surprised by that stance, you are not alone.

“Your powers are weak” when it comes to fending off sugar cravings.

Should You Eat Chocolate Before a Lightsaber Battle or Tense Discussion?

According to the Wall Street Journal article posted on December 3, 2014, “How the Brain Uses Glucose to Fuel Self-Control,” by Robert M. Sapolsky, eating some chocolate to get your glucose levels up before entering into a tense discussion with a spouse may prove beneficial (taking glucose before a lightsaber battle was not mentioned in the article).

Going for the Padame Amidala look this Halloween?

Protect your brain from heavy metals found in some costume makeup and check out the article, “Beware of Halloween Makeup Hazards,” by Devon Kelley posted on October 20, 2015.

Help me Obi-Wan KALE-nobi–eating Fruits and Vegetables is my Only Hope!

I try to limit my consumption of foods with added sugars. I’ll stick to eating foods that are close to their most natural state and resist the power of the Dark Side of sugar this Halloween.

How about you? What’s your stance on sugar and how it affects your brain? Remember to seek your doctor’s advice and do your research when it comes to your health issues and  consuming sugar.

R2 D2

I found the droid, R2 D2, that I was looking for at LEGOLAND.

I'm not sure how many Lego bricks went into making the Death Star replica at LEGOLAND but it was pretty impressive.

I’m not sure how many Lego bricks went into making the Death Star replica at LEGOLAND but it was pretty impressive.

Sources

Photo of author, Tina Davidson, with Yoda courtesy of Thea Gavin.

(1)  Sanders, Laura. “Sugar may put you to sleep: glucose triggers nerve cells to spur drowsiness in mice.” Science News 8 Aug. 2015: 15. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 14 Oct. 2015.
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Wi-Fi and Your Brain

wi-fi router

By: Tina Davidson

In my previous post, Books and Your Brain Continued… Paper or Plasma, I mentioned an article I found about the Ashland Public School District and how it was the first US Public School District to limit wi-fi radiation exposure to students and staff. The remarkable parent who raised the issue with the school district reached out to me via email after seeing my post. I’ve never had the honor of meeting her, but Cece Doucette, is one of my new heroes. I’ve included the email she sent me below so you don’t miss out on anything she has to share.

Thanks for the mention of wi-fi in schools, Tina. In addition to addressing wi-fi radiation in education, there is a lot parents can do at home. We have run Ethernet cables to our daughters’ laptops and turned off the multiple wi-fi antennas in each device. The cordless home phones are like having your own min-cell tower, they pulse radiation 24/7. We’ve replaced them with corded phones. We use a good toaster oven or cast iron pans to warm foods now instead of the microwave oven. We also unplugged the little router we’d bought, and contacted our internet service provider. They gave me the IP address for my Verizon router, and it’s very easy to go on-line and access the wireless settings to turn off the 2.4GH and 5GHz routers that came with our phone/internet/cable.

I also turned off both wi-fi antennas in my printer.

Hard-wired is the only way to ensure internet access without undue radiation exposure and it’s easy to do. We’ve cut down cell phone use and keep them in airplane mode when not in use so they can’t pulse constant radiation. I bought an Acoustimeter electromagnetic radiation meter to be sure I have eliminated all radiation in our home. I have a grant application in to put two of the Acoustimeters in the Ashland Public Library so all of our residents can measure and remediate the radiation in their homes too. The Friends of the Ashland Library are hosting a film series this fall to help educate the community on wi-fi’s potential harm, see pages 12-13 of our local monthly paper.

The only device we can’t control at home yet is the utility “smart” meter mounted on our house without our permission. The analog meters with the old dials are the safer choice. At least the digital meter we have is far away from our bedrooms–the radiation pulses 24/7 and interferes with sleep and cell repair.

For more information, feel free to peruse my research repository:

Understanding EMFs.

As a closing thought, I just read Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair’s book, “The Big Disconnect” which goes into scientific detail about what’s happening to children in the digital age, by each brain development stage. I highly recommend it to every parent. Children best learn how to be fully functioning people from caring adults who love them and give them their undivided attention. ~Cece Doucette

Thanks, Cece, for sharing the simple steps that people can take to make a difference and limit wi-fi radiation in their homes.

There are two more items that I thought of with wi-fi antennas that readers may also want to turn off: blue-ray players and DSLR cameras (check your user manual if you are unsure if your camera has wi-fi capabilities).

Another benefit of wiring your house instead of going with a wireless internet router, is that wires are better for maximum speed and security.

Need more Information?

Cece has compiled all her research online to share with those interested. Check out the section, Electrohypersensitivity (EHS), and find out how these environmentally induced symptoms manifest neurologically and immunologically in people exposed to electric and magnetic fields.  The good news is that over time these symptoms can disappear when the exposure to EMFs is eliminated.  

A final note from Cece:

Friends of the Ashland Library took an interest in this, and after doing their own due diligence, decided to dedicate their next Documentary Film and Discussion Series to educating the public on this.  See attached flyer.  This is something any community could do, or folks could watch most of the featured videos on-line or through their library networks.

2015-Ashland-Public-Library-WiFi-Film-Series

How about you, readers? What other devices with wi-fi antennas have I missed that I need to turn off? I’d love to hear the steps you are taking to limit your wi-fi radiation exposure or how you’ve become an agent of change to help spread the word. Keep up the good work and here’s to a happy and healthy brain!

Sources:

Email correspondence with Cece Doucette.  October 4, 2015.

Understanding EMFsOnline research repository.

Other Wi-Fi news

Gogo provides inflight wi-fi for more than 70 percent of the nation’s airlines and plans to launch a satellite-based wi-fi system to boost connectivity. Satellite wi-fi works on international flights and over a body of water. (Source: The Tribune, sanluisobispo.com, F4, 10.4.15)

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