Feed your anger

2 minute read

Does a bad diet lead to bad behaviour?

Does the world seem angrier to you?

One glance at a newspaper will tell you why. Between the pandemic, fraying geopolitical tensions and the prospect of climate catastrophe, it should come as no surprise that we’re all feeling a little … impatient.

Add to that the dawn of social media, which has given virtually every human alive the ability to tell any other human alive that they wish they weren’t alive, and you have the perfect conditions for a global rise in rudeness.

But what if there were another explanation for our collective bad attitude? One that’s easier to fix than rising sea levels or economic strife?

What if it were simply a case of “we are what we eat?” And what we eat is “shit”.

A new book called The Better Brain argues that an escalation of “emotional, non-rational, even explosive remarks in public discourse” has been exacerbated by “brain hunger”. The authors, who are researchers in the field of nutrition and mental health, believe that a lack of micronutrients in the modern, Western diet is specifically to blame.

While they conceded that “correlational studies cannot prove that nutritional choices are the cause of mental health problems,” they point to longitudinal studies that broadly demonstrate the emotional benefits of clean eating. In one such study of about 89,000 people in Japan with 10-15 years of followup, the suicide rate in those consuming a whole foods diet was half that of those eating less healthy diets.

While it makes perfect sense that a good diet will lead to healthy brain function, your Back Page correspondent remains unconvinced that it will necessarily increase civility in public discourse.

If I had to trade chocolate bars for carrot sticks, I think I’d become a lot more uncivil.

If you eat something unhealthy, send an uncivil email to felicity@medicalrepublic.com.au

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