OSWEGO, N.Y – College students should know that what they eat can affect their productivity. Eating foods that do not provide proper nutrition can affect both a student’s overall productivity and their wellbeing.
Food is the fuel that keeps the body going. If students don’t fill the body with the right fuel then they might find themselves tired and unfocused throughout the day.
The fuel that is received from food is called glucose and it powers both the body and the mind. When students are low on glucose then they will feel unfocused and will start to have issues concentrating. That’s why it is important to eat foods that will provide their bodies with the right kind of energy to keep them moving throughout the day.
“A diet mainly consisting of fried foods, takeout, high sugar items that’s going to lead to a feeling of less energy or sluggish,” said Alicia Olsen, registered dietitian at SUNY Oswego. “I was reading up on a couple studies, one in particular talked about how students eating more french fries, sodas are less likely to attend exams.”
Some of these things that will provide that kind of energy include carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, and protein. Eating these kinds of foods will not only help students stay focused, concentrated, and energized but it will also improve their overall health and even prevent disease.
Eating unhealthy foods will have the opposite effect on the body. Eating foods that are packaged, processed, and that are high on fat and sugar will have negative effects on students productivity and their overall health.
“What goes in comes out, so if you eat junk you produce junk,” said Angie Brown, director of student health services. “What we do see is that people that have a little more of a nutritious diet, so eating fruits and vegetables, getting adequate hydration seem to feel a little bit better and have a bit more energy.”
Most students don’t even eat breakfast, which is the most important time to get glucose. Breakfast is often referred to as the most important meal of the day and that’s because it is the main time students get their fuel for the day.
Eating breakfast can improve both your energy and your concentration. Both of those things are important in the morning when students need to pay attention in class or even take tests. But even with this information students still skip breakfast.
“I do not eat breakfast,” said student Matthew Sheremeta. “If I’m on a time crunch I’m never thinking about it.”
Students don’t eat breakfast because they say they can’t find the time. A lot of students prefer to sleep in in the morning or they’re just too busy in the morning to go get it. But students can still find ways to eat breakfast in the morning like preparing it the night before or even setting their alarm earlier. Even eating something small in class is healthy and it will prevent you from feeling sluggish for the rest of the day.
“So our brains run on glucose, glucose is a type of carbohydrate. So if you skip breakfast you’ve gone at least 8, maybe even 12 hours since your last meal, that’s a long time for your brain to go without any fuel,” said Olsen.
It is also important to keep drinking water throughout the day. Water plays a very important role in the body as it makes up 60% of your body.
But when staying hydrated it is important that students stick with water and try to avoid sugary beverages. Sugary beverages like sodas and juices are high in sugar and calories. Drinking them can also result in weight gain, cavities, diabetes, and heart disease.
“If you drink like a soda, you’re getting all these extra calories and sugar that is not gonna help,” said Brown. “If you eat something like an apple, an apple’s got natural sugar in it but that sugar is gonna be converted differently.”
Being productive is important for a student so they shouldnt let what they eat hold them back. While a lot of the unhealthy things they may serve in the dining halls look good, students should also remember that what they eat has a huge impact on their body and should eat to support their body.
“Before you head to the dining hall you could check the online menus ahead of time and make a plan for yourself,” said Olson. “Plan ahead of meals, try to pick more whole food sources fruits, veggies, grains, and meats rather than the more processed food options.”