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Food and Behavior
Book Review
by Don Bennett, DAS

Can what people eat really affect the way they behave? The evidence says 'yes'. In the book Food and Behavior, author Barbara Reed Stitt, a former Chief Probation Officer and creator of a nutritional program that has helped thousands to lead healthy and productive lives, shows the link between food and behavior.

The connection between food and behavior is so basic that it is being overlooked by parents, the school system, counselors, and most of the medical professionals. Ask any hyperactive child, depressed, angry teenager, violent adult, or criminal what they eat, and you'll find they "live" on junk food – sweetened boxed cereals, candy, carbonated drinks, potato chips, and fast food. Junk food abuses the mind, undernourishes the body, and negatively affects behavior.

Food and Behavior is a book for people in trouble with their health and behavior – and for all of you who don't want members of your family to get in trouble. Barbara's message is both enlightening and encouraging.

Barbara Reed Stitt worked with the municipal court as a probation officer in Ohio for 20 years – as Chief Probation Officer for 12 of these years. The relationship of diet and behavior was carefully studied. Over and over it became apparent that when the diet improved, attitude, personal appearance, and self-esteem improved. Barbara's years of experience with correcting behavior by correcting the diet led her to seek higher education in nutrition. Her thesis on "The Biochemistry of Crime" and dissertation on "Healing the Delinquent Mind" helped earn her a Ph.D. in nutrition.

* Scientific trials have shown that low levels of brain serotonin are associated with higher levels of aggression, suicide and homicide. While high levels of brain serotonin are associated with increased feelings of peace and well being.

* High-protein/low-carbohydrate intake is associated with significantly lowered brain serotonin.

* Low-protein/high-carbohydrate intake is associated with an increase in brain serotonin. (When you eat a "low protein" diet, you are reducing your intake of animal products and thus reducing your intake of hormones, which humans are not designed to consume. Hormones affect behavior and also "feed" cancer.)

I can personally attest to the effect "clean living" has on ones emotional state. The Mind-Body Connection gets a lot of press (how your emotional state can affect your physical health), but the Body-Mind Connection has more of an effect on people than you'd imagine (how your physical health affects your emotional wellbeing). Living in harmony with Nature allows you to experience emotional equanimity. The air smells sweeter, things look more beautiful, and spontaneous joy becomes second nature. It becomes easier to smile and easier to laugh. Little things that once aggravated you, now don't. And you can appreciate the expression, "The Best Things in Life Are Free". If you've been unknowingly abusing your body for any length of time with a sub-par diet and lifestyle practices such as not enough sleep/sunshine/water/exercise etc., this change in demeanor won't happen overnight. But it does happen, and is something to look forward to.

Junk Food Diets Promote Youth Violence and Aggression

The American Journal of Psychiatry has published a new study connecting nutrient deficiencies to aggressive behavior in children. Children who suffered deficiencies of zinc, iron, and B vitamins demonstrated a surprising 41% increase in aggression at age eight, and by age 17, they demonstrated a 51% increase in violent and antisocial behaviors. The study noted that 80% of the U.S. population now has deficiencies in one or more of these nutrients, due in major part to increasing consumption of junk foods and beverages. And since hormones affect behavior, this explains why kids who are vegan (consume no animal products) tend to be better behaved than their animal-eating counterparts. And since dairy products contain casomorphine and grain products contain opioids, kids who don't eat things like pizza are less likely to suffer from behavioral disorders. Sorry Papa John's, you can't argue with biology.


To read a great in-depth review of "Food and Behavior",
and for some related reading material, click here