Fat Fiction Fat, lies and measuring tape


I predict a riot…

Surely diets not riots?

Everyone knows food affects mood, and I’m not talking about people getting excitable about eating donuts.  From depression through to violence, the nutrients you have – or don’t have – affect your moods in ways we simply just don’t know. So I began thinking – if, as I believe, weight gain is largely symptomatic of a lack of nutrients, and given we have a country where 2 out of every 3 people is overweight, this must have much more far-reaching effects than the old muffin-top spilling out a tight T-shirts on the beach. And sure enough, it’s bigger than you could ever imagine.

As a discipline it uncomfortably straddles health, crime, food production, welfare and education. Which is another way of saying there’s no money in researching it but thankfully, some people have sacked off the golden paycheck and dedicated their lives to finding out exactly what’s going on.

Bernard Gesch is probably the most important scientist in world studying effects of nutrition and behaviour right now. He performed a crucial experiment back in 1990s at Aylesbury Young Offenders Institute, where half the prisoners got a food supplement, the other half a placebo. Result? The ones receiving a real supplement committed 37% fewer violent offences. Placebos – no change. Stunning.

The reaction was positive but universal – we need to repeat it to draw any serious conclusions. So he did, this time in conjunction with Oxford University. The experiment is still going on (there’s an interview with him here) but unsurprisingly the results are looking like they’re going to be the same. Lack of nutrients leads to violence. And the main causes of a lack of nutrients? Sugar and processed food.

Sugar + processed food = increases in violence.

And bizarrely, we have a situation with the Government pussy-footing around these food issues. Processed food makes you fat, OK that's one thing. But violent too? Just how deep does this have to run before someone takes some drastic action? So far, we've seen Lansley asking the food manufacturers to come up with some answers to obesity  and implement it themselves. No chance. If you want to grasp this issue, we need to see some big, bold moves. And asking KFC what they think just isn’t going to cut it.

Riots not diets picture from Gaelx

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  1. This is exactly the sort of research that is needed for nutrition and behavior!

    I find it interesting (and rather unfortunate) that the self-reported levels of negative emotions did not change, though. I think better nutrition would be a easier sell if you could reasonably guarantee improved mood for individuals. They are only working with recommended daily levels, though, and of course they are working with people in some very stressful situations (juvenile offenders and prisoners). I’d be very interested in seeing their results if they were willing to provide higher levels of nutrients, especially those known to positively affect mood.

    Thanks for posting this … it certainly improved my mood. :)

    • Hi Angel, it is strange isn’t it, but if it stops everyone from knocking each other out it must be doing something right. I have pulled up some stuff on depression and food for another day (cheery topic eh?!)…
      cheers for dropping by

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