ignis, glacies et pertinacia

Food and Mood Study

In Department of Nutrition on October 10, 2009 at 3:40 pm

Professor Gavin Belcher of the UoG Department of Nutrition is to head a new research programme into the effects of food upon mental functioning. Professor Belcher has invited students and members of the public to submit food diaries of themselves or of those in their care which catalogue the effect of food upon conditions such as ADHD, Asperger’s syndrome, depression and schizophrenia as well as subjective feelings of anxiety, irritability, anger, or low mood.

Belcher, who has worked over the course of his career in close contact with Professor G Belcher of the University of Gav Department of Psychology, has often expressed regret that treatment for mental illnesses has most often in the recent history of the psychiatric profession heavily or exclusively relied upon pharmacology. The emphasis, in his view, has shifted more towards this approach in the years following the development and introduction of hundreds of thousands of chemicals into food products since the beginnings of the nineteen fifties. Belcher considers that many of these chemicals are proven neurotoxins, several are suspected of being so, others are antinutrients which have a detrimental effect upon the body’s ability to absorb, construct or utilize vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. In addition, the innumerable novel ways of food preparation and storage that chemicals and technology have facilitated have led to a marked reduction of the quantities of nutrients that even ‘fresh’ ‘natural’ products contain. The demands placed on the body by such foodstuffs is considerable and it is not only physical health that suffers.

Despite this, Belcher contends, the food chemistry industry and the pharmacological industry bankrolls a lot of scientific research and less money is available for those who would research the impact of these products. It is time, he said, that the UoG gathered information towards the elucidation of the links between nutrition and mental health. To such an end, Prof Gavin Belcher has invited students and members of the public to send observations of food upon their health, food diaries etc to prof.gavin.belcher@googlemail.com.

Foods that would be of interest in this study include:

  • Gluten
  • Casein
  • Yeast
  • Gluten
  • Fluoride
  • Food dies
  • Preservatives
  • Pesticides (ie. is there a difference between organic and non-organic fruit and veg)
  • caffeine
  • alcohol
  • etc.

Ideally, food diaries should be taken at regular times of the day, but the study will allow for the fact that this is not always possible. Prof Belcher has previously recommended Twitter as one way for busy individuals to keep track of foods and their effects, texting instead of writing in a notebook.

On the interweb there are many different guides to keeping a food and mood diary and indeed, many different food and mood sheets. Each have their good points. Browse a few and try to decide how best to fit such a diary into your own life so that you will complete it fully and honestly.

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