Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sugar and the brain.

Friends, grad school is hard.

By hard, I mean time consuming. Brain stretching. Challenging. But totally awesome, with the exception of midterms and finals. (Those will always stink.) Yesterday, while I quizzed myself with flash cards for a test in Human Growth and Development, I noticed something interesting.

Apparently, my memory is amazing.

Now, I don't mean to brag. I mean to express the following: WHAT THE CRAP IS HAPPENING TO MY BRAIN? But, you know, in a good way! While I studied, I sincerely, repeatedly surprised myself with how quickly I recalled what I hadn't read about in weeks. I assure you that this has never happened before. I'm not a bad student by any means (3.7ish undergrad GPA, represent!), but studying has never been my strong suit.

Anyway, I almost blogged about it right away, but I didn't want to jump the gun and bomb the test. So tonight, I took the test and -- once again -- I surprised myself.

The test, mostly essays with some matching and multiple choice, was simple until I got to page four, where two essays were worth a combined value of 18 points (out of 100). My heart sank because I hadn't studied either topic. I really had no idea. So, I wung it. I went with answers that seemed feasible and moved ahead. Afterward, unable to take the suspense, I checked the textbook. As I skimmed for something relevant to the second of the two essays I was sure I bombed, I vaguely remembered reading the chapter.

Weeks ago.

And when I found the answer, I surprised myself again because at least 2/3 of what I wrote was exactly what the book advised (and the other third should count as well, according to my mom who already has a master's degree in what I'm studying). How, pray tell, did I pull it out of my brain without a reminder of it between learning it and being tested on it? And how is any of this relevant to my sugar free year?

Well, I can't help but wonder: is there a connection between sugar and memory? Could it be that my breaking up with sugar has given my brain new powers?

Clearly, I haven't done the research. Yet. But so far, I think I'm a believer.


  1. You're on to something, boo: http://indianapublicmedia.org/amomentofscience/link-between-memory-and-sugar/

  2. Here's a more detailed article: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/02/03/health/main539213.shtml

  3. And what do both of these articles have in common? They both suggest that by eating right and exercising regularly, this can all but be avoided. SO. SIMPLE.

  4. Wow! Very, very interesting. Thank you for sharing the stories!

    And you are SO right. It's so simple! The problem I find in this culture is nobody seems interested in believing that the solutions to some of the scariest, most uncomfy problems are... simple. There is so rarely interest in behavior modification and so often so much interest in finding something new to add to your life to negate whatever problem is caused by the way you eat, live, etc. The last thing any of us need is to add. Subtraction toward simplicity is clearly the key!

  5. I completely agree. It's simple, but at the same time, it can be hard. Let's face it, in order to get healthy, you need to change your lifestyle. And our country is used to quick fixes and instant gratification, which is why we can't get onboard with this lifestyle change because it's--gasp!--work and the results don't happen instantaneously.

    Which leads me to wonder, in addition to emphasizing the importance of getting healthy, should we also address our collective mindset? I think so.

  6. SO true. When the collective mindset says quick fixes are the way to go, it IS hard because you're going against the grain.

    And in some way, shape or form, you know it all comes down to money. It sickens me!