Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Jeffrey Smith on Healthy School Lunches

Jeffrey Smith, author of Genetic Roulette, takes a look at the health effects of processed and gmo foods in school lunches, citing a slightly terrifying science experiment in which lab mice fed only junk foods basically lost their minds and tore each other apart. Scary.

Before the Appleton Wisconsin high school changed their cafeteria’s diet of processed foods to wholesome, nutritious food, the school was described as out-of-control. There were weapons violations, student disruptions, and a cop on duty full-time. After the change in school meals, the students were calm, focused, and orderly. There were no more weapons violations, and no suicides, expulsions, dropouts, or drug violations. The new diet and improved behavior has lasted for seven years, and now other schools are changing their meal programs with similar results.

Years ago, a science class at Appleton found support for their new diet by conducting a cruel and unusual experiment with three mice. They fed them the junk food that kids in other high schools eat everyday. The mice freaked out. Their behavior was totally different than the three mice in the neighboring cage. The neighboring mice had good karma; they were fed nutritious whole foods and behaved like mice. They slept during the day inside their cardboard tube, played with each other, and acted very mouse-like.

The junk food mice, on the other hand, destroyed their cardboard tube, were no longer nocturnal, stopped playing with each other, fought often, and two mice eventually killed the third and ate it. After the three month experiment, the students rehabilitated the two surviving junk food mice with a diet of whole foods. After about three weeks, the mice came around.

Sister Luigi Frigo repeats this experiment every year in her second grade class in Cudahy, Wisconsin, but mercifully, for only four days. Even on the first day of junk food, the mice’s behavior “changes drastically.” They become lazy, antisocial, and nervous. And it still takes the mice about two to three weeks on unprocessed foods to return to normal. One year, the second graders tried to do the experiment again a few months later with the same mice, but this time the animals refused to eat the junk food.

Across the ocean in Holland, a student fed one group of mice genetically modified (GM) corn and soy, and another group the non-GM variety. The GM mice stopped playing with each other and withdrew into their own parts of the cage. When the student tried to pick them up, unlike their well-behaved neighbors, the GM mice scampered around in apparent fear and tried to climb the walls. One mouse in the GM group was found dead at the end of the experiment.

It’s interesting to note that the junk food fed to the mice in the Wisconsin experiments also contained genetically modified ingredients. And although the Appleton school lunch program did not specifically attempt to remove GM foods, it happened anyway. That’s because GM foods such as soy and corn and their derivatives are largely found in processed foods. So when the school switched to unprocessed alternatives, almost all ingredients derived from GM crops were taken out automatically.

Does this mean that GM foods negatively affect the behavior of humans or animals? It would certainly be irresponsible to say so on the basis of a single student mice experiment and the results at Appleton. On the other hand, it is equally irresponsible to say that it doesn’t.

We are just beginning to understand the influence of food on behavior. A study in Science in December 2002 concluded that “food molecules act like hormones, regulating body functioning and triggering cell division. The molecules can cause mental imbalances ranging from attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder to serious mental illness.” The problem is we do not know which food molecules have what effect.

Read the whole article here.

 

Related articles:


Recipe: White Chocolate from The Ketogenic Kitchen

Emerging research suggests that a ketogenic diet, in conjunction with conventional treatments, offers new hope for those coping with cancer and other serious disease.For decades, the ketogenic diet—which shifts the body’s metabolism from burning glucose to burning fat, lowering blood sugar and insulin and resulting in a metabolic state known as ketosis—has been used to […] Read More

True or false? Figs contain dead wasps

They are trees of life and trees of knowledge. They are wish-fulfillers … rainforest royalty … more precious than gold. They are the fig trees, and they have affected humanity in profound but little-known ways. Gods, Wasps and Stranglers tells their amazing story.Fig trees fed our pre-human ancestors, influenced diverse cultures and played key roles […] Read More

Ketogenic Diet and the Metabolic Theory of Cancer (Q&A)

Emerging research suggests that a ketogenic diet, in conjunction with conventional treatments, offers new hope for those coping with cancer and other serious diseases.For decades, the ketogenic diet—which shifts the body’s metabolism from burning glucose to burning fat, lowering blood sugar and insulin and resulting in a metabolic state known as ketosis—has been used to […] Read More

Recipe: Cracking Crackers – from The Ketogenic Kitchen

Emerging research suggests that a ketogenic diet, in conjunction with conventional treatments, offers new hope for those coping with cancer and other serious diseases.For decades, the ketogenic diet—which shifts the body’s metabolism from burning glucose to burning fat, lowering blood sugar and insulin and resulting in a metabolic state known as ketosis—has been used to […] Read More

Why Modern Wheat Is Making Us Sick

Why is modern wheat making us sick?  That’s the question posed by author Eli Rogosa in her new book Restoring Heritage Grains.Wheat is the most widely grown crop on our planet, yet industrial breeders have transformed this ancient staff of life into a commodity of yield and profit—witness the increase in gluten intolerance and ‘wheat […] Read More
Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com