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Food for thought...
20-09-2006, 05:35 AM
Post: #1
Food for thought...

I was watching the re-runs of Jamies School Dinners the other day and it was interesting to see what a dramatic effect dietry change had on the kids behaviour in class.

One young lad in particular had a very low attention span, was always quite aggressive and incredibly hyper. Working with the parents Jamie suggested they try a new diet. The parents were amazed that within a few days the childs behaviour was tempered and within a couple of weeks he was a different little boy. Much calmer, more focused. They said however that for one day they let him have chicken nuggest, chips and beans and he went berzerk again...one day!

The teachers in the trial schools also commented that the new school dinners had had a dramatic effect within just a couple of weeks. Kids were less fidgety and more focused.

This was a shock to Jamie...although he knew a good diet should help a child develop both physically and mentally better the speed at which the change had taken place was unreal.

They have performed similar tests in prisons and found that by feeding healthier meals the inmates are calmer.

Kinda makes you wonder about all those kids out there that are on ADD drugs like Ridlin etc...maybe more of them could be helped by a better diet and the need for drugs could be reduced.

Any thoughts?

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20-09-2006, 07:25 AM
Post: #2
Food for thought...
Coastie, couldn't agree more! I think diet is a huge influence on kid's behaviour - the thing is with junk food it is heaped with god knows what and I do find it quite scary that certain foods can tip kids over the edge.

There is one wee boy in my daughter's class and he turns up to school everyday with a HUGE packet of Monster Munch and a mars bar and he is always misbehaving in class. I find it really sad that parents can't even find the time to give their kids a breakfast in the morning, I mean even if it is a slice of toast or a banana, it is better than a packet of monster munch!

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20-09-2006, 07:31 AM
Post: #3
Food for thought...
WHile I don't think that diet is a cure-all, in my experience there is definitiely a link between what children eat and their behaviour.

There's the obvious which I think most parents of young children will have noticed, and it's what happens at birthday parties.

Basically you sit them down, and feed them typical birthday party fare, which is heavily biased towards biscuits, cake and sugary drinks.

Then you stand well back and wait for the result. Which in most cases is a post-meal explosion of energy, the little cherubs will run up the walls powered by a sugar-high that can't be contained, you have to let them run and scream it off until they collapse into a flushed and sweaty pile ready for collection by their doting mums.

So, if a surfeit of sugar from the obvious biccies and cake can change behaviour in such a dramatic way, so presumably can the sugar and who knows what other substances they will ingest from other, less obvious foodstuffs.

Re the Ritalin issue, I think it might often be prescibed on the basis that the child 'is a problem' when the real problem lies elsewhere in the child's life - to what extent the child's diet is a factor I don't know, but for sure emotional disturbances caused by something wrong in the family, including abuse of the child, can be a cause. Fortunately Ritalin and drugs like it are not prescribed as freely here as in the US, where not only are drugs dispensed like water, but there is a much narrower tolerance for what is deemed 'normal' behaviour in children, and where the need to conform is much more apparent.

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20-09-2006, 08:08 AM
Post: #4
Food for thought...
survivorfan Wrote:feed them typical birthday party fare, which is heavily biased towards biscuits, cake and sugary drinks.

the little cherubs will run up the walls powered by a sugar-high that can't be contained, you have to let them run and scream it off until they collapse into a flushed and sweaty pile ready for collection by their doting mums.

This is also evident in some adults i think. Adults talk about needed their 'chocolate fixes' because it gives them a high. In little people the high must be even greater.

I know i dont eat much chocolate as it has a strange reaction on me. I become very hot from the inside out and it makes me tingly. The effects only last a couple of minutes but its kinda nice. I eat a few squares of choccie in the winter when im freezing cold as it warms me through nicely.

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20-09-2006, 09:26 AM
Post: #5
Food for thought...
survivorfan Wrote:WHile I don't think that diet is a cure-all, in my experience there is definitiely a link between what children eat and their behaviour.

Re the Ritalin issue, I think it might often be prescibed on the basis that the child 'is a problem' when the real problem lies elsewhere in the child's life - to what extent the child's diet is a factor I don't know, but for sure emotional disturbances caused by something wrong in the family, including abuse of the child, can be a cause. Fortunately Ritalin and drugs like it are not prescribed as freely here as in the US, where not only are drugs dispensed like water, but there is a much narrower tolerance for what is deemed 'normal' behaviour in children, and where the need to conform is much more apparent.

Unfortunately SF, it's because of the lack of knowledge of ADD, ADHD that these types of opinions cause more headaches for the parents that have children that do suffer from this.

ADHD and ADD are on the same spectrum as Dyspraxia, Autism etc. Yet the families are not blamed for either of the latter diseases are they? ADHD has been proven to be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. The brain structure of a child with ADHD is different from that of a 'normal' person.

My child is on Ritalin, because he needs it, the same way that a diabetic person needs insulin, because it is a chemical deficiency, and not because he has emotional problems at home. In fact, it's a well known thing that bad parenting does not cause ADHD, but ADHD can cause bad parenting.


We do keep a watchful eye on all of our diets at home. We hardly have red meat, mostly eat chicken and fish, loads of fresh vegetables, salads and fruits. I don't keep chocolate or other sweets in the house and the children can have those as a treat once in a while. Jamie's lunchbox today contained a Tuna and sweetcorn with mayo sandwich on wholemeal bread, a bag of strawberries, a strawberry flavoured Actimel drink and a pure Apple Juice or sometimes it may be a bottle of water. We do notice a difference if Jamie is fed 'junk' food. Unfortunately it is not possible to control at all times what goes into his mouth say if another child gives him a sweet or something at school. But we can tell if he has had something that he shouldn't have had within a couple of minutes of him having it. It really is amazing the effect that additives in food have on children. Makes you really wonder how safe it all is.

"You cannot teach people anything. You can only help them discover it within themselves."
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20-09-2006, 10:19 AM
Post: #6
Food for thought...
tigger Wrote:My child is on Ritalin, because he needs it, the same way that a diabetic person needs insulin, because it is a chemical deficiency, and not because he has emotional problems at home. In fact, it's a well known thing that bad parenting does not cause ADHD, but ADHD can cause bad parenting.

I can see how you would be much closer to knowing about this than me, and I'm sure you're right.

I was coming from the approach that it's sometimes easier for everyone if you can pop a label on something and treat it with a drug, although there are clearly times when that is the right way to go.

Nevertheless, I am still convinced that there are many cases where a child's disturbed behaviour is due to the parents, and the child, not the parents, is seen as 'the problem'.

As you say, not in your case.

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20-09-2006, 11:24 AM (This post was last modified: 20-09-2006 11:31 AM by Northern angel.)
Post: #7
Food for thought...
In some ways the programme I watched last night at the caravan about bipolarity has some similarities to those sufferers of 'TURETTES and ADHD, ritalin and a fitting drug are often used to control the condition. In fact there was a whole load of drugs used to suppress the condition and I was not to sure whether this was a good thing or not. The effects seemed to render the patients characters as kind of robotically suppressed and tired. The patients in the programme were children from the age of eight to adults.

It was on BBC2 at 9 o clock hosted by Stephen Fry. The title was a bit misleading 'The secret life of a Manic Depressive' but the programme content was interesting. Sufferers of the above bipolarity which is the modern term for the illness have highs and lows. The highs are characterised by feelings of being great, very energetic, happy, fearing nothing, exhibitionistic, but the lows were characterised as being either periods of intense insular behaviour with the intent to self harm, or harm others, acts of aggression etc.

The programme did not look at food at all, instead there was a brief suggestion that the condition was inherited and that someone else in the family had suffered it and had maybe in times of less understanding of how the brain works, had been institutionalised.

I was a bit concerned though with the current trend in America to start diagnosing these conditions in children as young as 2 or 3, and that some were already being treated for it. The bathroom cabinet was a minie chemist in one household, I actually wonder whether they have got this right. Not only that what will the long term prospects in life be for these children when they become adults, doesn't bare thinking about. The drugs seemed to be doing more harm than good.

I also think that in todays day and age of the fast lane, and the throw away society, we are all to keen to find a little box or socket to catergorise things in, so that our lives become easier and then what happens next the medical profession whom we trust implicitly treat these sufferers of there apparent ailments, without looking at causes.

MAUREEN
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20-09-2006, 11:45 AM
Post: #8
Food for thought...
Northern angel Wrote:In some ways the programme I watched last night at the caravan about bipolarity has some similarities to those sufferers of 'TURETTES and ADHD, ritalin and a fitting drug are often used to control the condition.MAUREEN
NORTHERN ANGEL.

To avoid confusion I think you should mention (I just looked it up) that manic depression and ADHD are two different conditions, and that the use of Ritalin to control ADHD in a child who suffers from both may in fact worsen the depression.

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20-09-2006, 11:55 AM
Post: #9
Food for thought...
tigger Wrote:Unfortunately SF, it's because of the lack of knowledge of ADD, ADHD that these types of opinions cause more headaches for the parents that have children that do suffer from this.

ADHD and ADD are on the same spectrum as Dyspraxia, Autism etc. Yet the families are not blamed for either of the latter diseases are they? ADHD has been proven to be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. The brain structure of a child with ADHD is different from that of a 'normal' person.

[COLOR="DarkRed"]Hello tigger,

Having watched a very detailed programme on this subject and bipolarity last night, it seems that the scans of brains did not show up any abnormality between that of a sufferer of DEPRESSION, ADHD, and a normal brain.

[/COLOR]
My child is on Ritalin, because he needs it, the same way that a diabetic person needs insulin, because it is a chemical deficiency, and not because he has emotional problems at home. In fact, it's a well known thing that bad parenting does not cause ADHD, but ADHD can cause bad parenting.


We do keep a watchful eye on all of our diets at home. We hardly have red meat, mostly eat chicken and fish, loads of fresh vegetables, salads and fruits. I don't keep chocolate or other sweets in the house and the children can have those as a treat once in a while. Jamie's lunchbox today contained a Tuna and sweetcorn with mayo sandwich on wholemeal bread, a bag of strawberries, a strawberry flavoured Actimel drink and a pure Apple Juice or sometimes it may be a bottle of water. We do notice a difference if Jamie is fed 'junk' food. Unfortunately it is not possible to control at all times what goes into his mouth say if another child gives him a sweet or something at school. But we can tell if he has had something that he shouldn't have had within a couple of minutes of him having it. It really is amazing the effect that additives in food have on children. Makes you really wonder how safe it all is.

Apparently research into DNA, Chromozones and Genes is throwing up more than a number of reasons why people suffer from the above, but the actual brain even taken slice by slice is not showing up anything at all.

With regard to foods the ones to watch are those laden with salt or sugars whether natural or chemically created. Particularly fizzy soft drinks.

The children in my family love coca cola and it does not seem to matter whether it is the normal coke or the light, it renders them all hyper active and naughty. Even when out shopping, if Mel has had coke and Mcdonalds, which is all she will eat when out. She will play up and it is very embarrassing when a 7 year old wants to crawl around the supermarket floor, because you've said no to more pop or crisps or sweets.

Is it possible that this latter example is probably more to do with bad parenting, i,e introducing the child to bad foods as above. As a child myself I have vivid memories of pop, sweets and crisps being a treat not an everyday thing, and I was as quiet as a mouse when out with my parents. Too quiet.

Is it possible in some instances that whilst our normal workimng lives have become so fuelled with activity and noise that when it comes to children that sometimes we want them to have older heads. Another observation now that your're a big girl your behaviour should be better than this. Adult to a 7 year old playing with friends. When is a child not a child?

MAUREEN
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20-09-2006, 12:06 PM
Post: #10
Food for thought...
Northern angel Wrote:Even when out shopping, if Mel has had coke and Mcdonalds, which is all she will eat when out. She will play up and it is very embarrassing when a 7 year old wants to crawl around the supermarket floor, because you've said no to more pop or crisps or sweets.

If its embarrasing (which im sure it is) and very annoying for fellow shoppers - perhaps Mel's parent should learn the word "no".

Why is a McDonalds all she will eat when out and about ? I know when i was a child my parents were quite strict. We had a McDonalds about once / twice a year as a treat.

Why would a 7 year old expect a McDonalds every time she went out - and why do parents pander to it ?

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