Isn’t anyone going to say it? The REAL reason why Australian children are poor learners

The results of the global education test have politicians blaming each other, and others are suggesting that busy parents are at fault. While experts are scratching their heads over our low academic performance, they have missed the most obvious explanation.

I have been expecting this downward trend in academic performance for a while, and it will only get worse, a lot worse, unless we are prepared to make a huge change. Sure, if our children read more books, and watched less TV, then maybe they would be better readers. But is it possible that they don’t want to read, because it is too hard. Is it possible that just like overweight people don’t feel like exercising, children struggling with cognitive skills don’t feel like reading?

And why would they be struggling cognitively?

I hate to be blunt, but excess sugar makes us dumb! Pure and simple. And, Australians ingest tons of the stuff. In the early 1800s, we consumed less than 4 tsp of sugar per day (including natural sugar). We now ingest between 30 and 50 tsp a day!

A new Australian study released in September shows that people in the higher range of normal blood glucose levels are suffering from brain atrophy.

Researchers have known for years that those with diabetes suffer from diminished brain function, but they were surprised that those in the high end of the ‘normal’ range suffer from a loss of memory and cognitive skills.

Dr Cherbuin said that the “findings may lead us to re-evaluate the concept of normal blood sugar levels and the definition of diabetes”.

Here is the abstract of the study:

Higher normal fasting plasma glucose is associated with hippocampal atrophy

This is a subject that I talk about at length in both my books. A special school in the U.S. discovered that when children consumed sugary foods, their IQ dropped significantly.

As Patricia Hardman, Ph.D, says, “We had one child who was tested for his I.Q. and scored 140. Three days later he was tested and scored 100! It turned out that grandma had come for a visit and, that morning, had made the child pancakes for breakfast. Of course, they were smothered in sugary syrup. We waited another three days without sugar and tested him again. Sure enough, he scored 140. There’s no doubt about it. Sugar makes children poor learners.”

This school eliminates sugar from the diet of all children who attend.

My daughter has also experienced this first-hand. Every year she has taken the Naplan test, she achieved well above average in almost every area; with one exception. One year, she received a very average result. We were both looking at the results and pondering the big change. Then Anna had a light bulb moment. She realised that she and her friend both ate lollies the day of the test. For a child who doesn’t regularly consume sugar, the difference was quite remarkable.

When Anna was 11 she said, “I don’t eat sugar because it really affects my body, and I really want to have a good education.  But, sugar ruins that.  I used to eat lots of sugar at school every day, but I didn’t get it from home, I got it from my friends at school.  Normally in Naplan, I have an above average outcome, but one day when we were doing Naplan, my friend bought a big packet of jelly beans to school.  We ate quite a few before our Naplan test, and during, and my results turned out average.  Now I kind of find sugar disgusting. Now that I know what it does to my body, it doesn’t make me want to eat it anymore.”

Imagine the huge academic disadvantage for those children consuming sugar daily. Is it any wonder that as a nation, as we become fatter and more diabetic, that our academic performance is also suffering.

Most parents have been led to believe, through clever marketing and endorsement (from respected health organisations) that excess sugar intake is harmless. Well, it isn’t. And our children are paying the price. If you want to enrich a child’s life and give them the gift of a great education and limitless possibilities, reduce their sugar intake. They may not recognise it at the time, but it will be one of the greatest gifts they will ever receive.

Who needs sugar anyway? Chocolate dipped strawberries, naturally sweetened

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5 Responses to Isn’t anyone going to say it? The REAL reason why Australian children are poor learners

  1. elizabeth says:

    Hi Chrisyine,
    You know me already /polish doctor Jan Kwasniewski’s book/ and I am agree with you 1000000000000000%,but when you turn on TV first you can see adds about how bad butter is for you.That is disgusting and I am screaming and getting upset. Maybe we should send some letter of protest, or something, and I don,t even now to whom it should be addressed.But we /my husband and I/ are with you, and we will do whatever is possible to help you.
    Elizabeth /sorry for my spelling, I hope you understendme/

  2. Cassie Bond says:

    Very good point Christine!
    The dumbing down of people in the USA is very evident.
    I believe that their overall intelligence has decreased dramatically in the last 10 years. I thought it was the media but now I recognize it’s the high blood sugar.
    Our so called ‘normal’ diet is certainly not going to help our evolution as a species!

  3. Third, children with diabetes were divided into 3 subgroups on the basis of metabolic control for the last year. Good metabolic control was defined as a mean HbA1c <8%, average metabolic control was defined as a mean HbA1c between 8% and 10%, and poor metabolic control was defined as a mean HbA1c >10%. These subgroupings resulted in slightly smaller numbers overall because not all children with diabetes had HbA1c data available in the year of the most recent achievement test. The most recent HbA1c and ITBS/ITED data, matched by grade, were used to form subgroups and to make comparisons between children with diabetes and their siblings (see Table 4 ) and their matched classmates (see Table 5 ). The performance of children with diabetes did not differ significantly from the performance of either their siblings or classmates at each level of control with 1 exception: children with diabetes who had average control performed better than their matched classmates in reading. It is interesting that poorer academic performance tended to occur in association with poor metabolic control and better performance with good control in all groups. These patterns were statistically significant in comparisons of good and poor metabolic control in children with diabetes matched with siblings for math (P < .01) and core total (P < .03).

  4. Glenys Eagles says:

    I have been on a sugar-free diet. The diet allows fats and proteins. I feel much healthier. Most importantly my brain function is also much better. I have a very intense concentration requiring job, and I find I can sit for long periods without becoming tired. I have also lost a lot of weight in the process, so very happy.

  5. Christine64 says:

    Oh how this resonates with me
    My 6 yr old was in grade 1 and I helped with Tuckshop once a week I was disgusted at the foods on sale to the kids sugary coated donuts with fake jam and cream, cinnamon donuts, pre packaged foods like chicken nuggets and chicken burger patties iceblocks full of sugar and the list goes on and on
    I attempted to implement a healthier Tuckshop with fruit salad and natural yoghurt celery and carrot sticks with cheeses salad wraps etc but my menu was shunned by the school p&f they said it was a treat! How can filling a child full of that junk be a treat? It’s poisoning our kids not to mention sending children into a classroom high as kites and wondering why their are behavioural issues.
    I actually withdrew my child from school and chose homeschooling and this was a huge influence in that decision, although my daughter still eats grains and sugars I am on control of how much she eats and together we discuss the nutritional value of foods in the hope that she will make her own wise choices

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