Better behavior through better eating? The high price of cheap food

Feb 17, 2010 by

Sure it costs more to feed your children real food than processed junk. But what price might you be paying to feed your kids cheaply? How about lack of focus, bad behavior, poor school performance, even violence or crime?

“Can we cut crime by changing cafeteria menus?” is the question Christina Pirello answers in the Huffington Post this week.

Pirello tells about several instances that prove that feeding people better can result in dramatic improvements in their behavior. From schools to prisons, garbage in means garbage out, but healthier eating can clearly net measurably better behavior. School performance was also shown to improve with better eating.

Being treated with respect, being deemed worthy of decent food, might contribute to better behavior, I believe. But clear results tied strictly to nutrition were also found in a study with placebos.

A better diet dramatically transformed student behavior in a Wisconsin school. In over 800 low-income schools in New York, better food brought the academic testing results up from 11 percent below average to five percent over.

In a prison, feeding inmates better brought a 37 percent reduction in violent misbehavior.

“Can it be a coincidence that the dramatic increase in crime, violence and lack of civility has grown hand in hand with the dramatic move toward processed junk food in our modern Western diet?” Pirello asks.

Between what Pirello calls “the zealots who believe that food cures all ills and the equally zealous skeptics who say it’s all nonsense” is the proven truth that eating better and good health means better behavior and a better functioning brain.

Good food costs more because it’s valuable.

Related post: “Top 8 things to cut expenses on so you can spend more on quality groceries”

2 comments
Anna Migeon
Anna Migeon

Hi Mary, it was interesting to talk to you last night about food! Did I know you were into CM? We haven't talked about that, have we? I think I would have remembered that. We'll have to discuss that sometime. Thanks for coming on my blog. I'm trying to think what posts are on it that you might find interesting... Seems like I'm preaching to the choir with you! I have some yummy recipes on here, though.

Mary A.
Mary A.

Hi Anna, Glad I found your blog! I'm sure I'll enjoying reading more of your posts, and learning something too! We haven't really ever experienced feeding struggles; I'm with you on letting the child's appetite dictate, and the choices all be acceptable. I think for us this relationship began with nursing on demand as infants, and they just have always stopped eating when they were full. Now we're working on manners with the youngest!( He is a lot like your older one, and we do follow CM philosophy at home! I guess it would be worse if he were in traditional schooling.)