One thing we all know is this… we need food to function. The types of food, the quantity and the timing has a huge effect on how we perform in a given day. Without boring you with the specifics at this stage, try and think of food as car oil and your brain is the car engine.
The engine oil is what lubricates the whole process so that it works efficiently, optimally and ensures we get the maximum horse power out of it.
Now, we should all know by now, hopefully, that high carbohydrate diets that lack good dietary fats and have a large impact on our immediate energy peaks and slumps.
We eat a large carb meal, we hit a sugar spike, we are filled with immediate energy and if we do nothing with it, we store it as fat – bluntly speaking, in its simplest form, thats what happens. Now, when we narrow this process down to children, whom by definition are incredibly sensitive to such mechanisms as insulin and thus blood sugar levels, they typically like to run around and burn lots of energy and thus we have a little problem when it comes to asking them to sit down an concentrate on learning.
Lets take an average child… lets say 10years old. Typically they will have something like coco pops for breakfast with milk. Maybe an orange too. On the school bus they’ll have some sweets that some kid is selling or giving out. At lunch time they’ll have a packed lunch or school dinner. If its a packed lunch it would be common to see a sandwich with jam, Nutella or even ham & cheese. Maybe even an apple or a chocolate bar as a snack. Perhaps downed with a can of coke or orange juice. If its a school lunch, as you’ll see below, we are likely to find chips, burgers, fish fingers, backed beans, potato, corn on the cob and maybe an apple juice.
After school, maybe some more treats in a sweet form. Followed by another sandwich when they get come and another few sugary drinks. Dinner? Well, if its a good day, they are likely to see something like bangers and mash, or cottage pie, or spam bol. Whatever is easy and quick to cook…. right?
Carbs… carbs… carbs… oh and a little more carbs. I’m scared to even theorise that the average child is probably consuming about 70% carbs, 15% fat and 15% protein. I mean, its really that bad.
Now i don’t want to bash carbs to death. I eat them. They are great…. IN MODERATION AND SERVE A PURPOSE. They provide energy for when we do something. Again, take the car analogy… if the cars not moving, you don’t need to bloody fill the engine up with fuel. If you want to take it around Silverstone race track, you’re going to give it a shit load of petrol, right!?!
If your child is sat a desk for 6 hours a day, why the hell are we giving them petrol? They need another energy source that is proven to increase brain function and health…. fats!
Now, lets look at the effect that carbs has on attention span. We know that carbs do one of many physiological effects on the body. One of those is it raises and stimulates Serotonin in the CNS (central nervous system) – a hormone that makes us feel happy. We also know that high levels of sugar make us bounce off the walls like a duracell bunny on speed.
Combine the two and we have happy kids, screaming, shouting, cant sit still and the last thing they are listening to is the theory of evolution, algebra or shakespeare 3rd sonnet. Then we wonder why teachers pull there hair out with frustration and we have an all time high turnover rate of teachers leaving the educational system. This leads to a lack of attention, retention of information and generally, bluntly speaking, less educated children.
Lets, for a second, take a look at a few other countries lunches. Countries that have statistically higher academic pass rates, higher teacher retention and also much much much lower obesity and type 1 & 2 diabetes issues.
Balanced diet: Italian children get pasta, fish, two kinds of salad, rocket and caprese, a bread roll and grapes
In Finland lunch is mainly a vegetarian affair of pea soup, carrots, beetroot salad, crusty roll and sweet pancake with berries to finish
South Korean children tuck into broccoli and peppers, fried rice with tofu, fermented cabbage and fish soup
Brie, green beans, carrot, rare steak and pudding of kiwi fruit and apples is served in French schools
A meal of traditional flavours: Brazil’s rice and black beans, baked plantain, pork with peppers and coriander, green salad and a seeded roll
Wholesome: Seeded roll, shrimp with brown rice, gazpacho and tri-colour peppers. Dessert is half an orange
A serving of borscht (beetroot soup) with pickled cabbage, sausages and mash. Dessert is a sweet pancake
Greek school lunches feature baked chicken with orzo, stuffed grape leaves, salad of cucumber and tomatoes, yogurt with pomegranate seeds and two oranges
Now, lets that a look at the good old United States of America and the United Kingdom. Both nations that have the highest obesity, diabetic & ADHD ratios of ANY OTHER nation in the world.
Am i bold enough to state these are all issues connected to nutrition… your damn right i am! We are talking facts here…!!!! Our kids are fat, becoming stupid and slowly dying because of what we are feeding them. Its that simply. Its that fucking scary!
Unhealthy meal: Children in the US get fed popcorn chicken with ketchup, a spoonful of mashed potato, green peas, a fruit cup and a giant chocolate chip cookie for lunch
UK school dinner of frankfurters and beans, a baked potato, corn on the cob, slice of melon and a box drink
Now tell me. What do you feed your kids for their breakfast, lunch and dinners? Any of the above ring true?
We need to be blunt. You need to change your child’s food or they will end up with serious health issues and i’m afraid its the parents responsibilities. We can hide behind it. We can justify it. We can complain that its the governments fault. We can even say you don’t have the money…
Its all bollox! DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Its your child’s future at stake….