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”