Fit children finish first in the classroom

The title of this post is the same as one of the chapters in my book, Stop Feeding Us Lies. The rest of this post, between the lines, is an excerpt from that chapter.

         In today’s politically correct world, you are unlikely to hear anybody in public office saying, ‘Physically fit children are academically superior to unfit children’, which is a problem because research from around the world has proved this to be true. As I explained in Chapter 3, physical activity increases the production of nerve-growth factors in the brain. One of the reasons we possess elaborate brains is because our ancestors, over a long period of time, were chasing animals for food. It has recently been discovered that the process of enhancing brain function by exercise produces rapid results in the development of children.

         In October 2013 Professor John Reilly, from Strathclyde University, and Doctor Josie Booth, from Dundee University, published their findings from a study which is following the lives of 5,000 children born in 1991 and 1992. This group is known as the ‘Avon Cohort’. The researchers examined the amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity the children were doing at the age of 11 and compared this to their academic performance in English, mathematics and science. Their results showed that the children with higher levels of moderate to vigorous exercise had better academic performance across all three subjects, and this was true for both boys and girls. The children were assessed again at both 13 and 15 years of age, when it was found that their academic achievement was still linked to how much energetic exercise they had taken when they were 11.

         Professor Petri, from the University of North Texas, studied 1,211 children of very diverse ethnic and social backgrounds. As well as testing their fitness and academic achievement, he also took into account other influences like self-esteem, social support and economic status. At the end of the study he said, “Cardiorespiratory fitness was the only factor that we consistently found to have a positive effect on both boys’ and girls’ grades in reading and maths tests.” So, the frequently quoted idea that children from poor families, given little support, are always going to struggle in school because of their backgrounds is not proven in this study.[3] In fact, physical fitness was shown to be the most important factor relating to academic grades.

         There are many similar studies, by different universities, which also found a direct link between physical fitness and performance in school, but at the University of Michigan they went a step further and showed why this happens. Professor Art Kramer studied a group of nine and ten-year-olds by testing their ability to use oxygen while running on a treadmill. This is a standard measure of fitness, which is often used by athletes, and he discovered that the physically fit children were much more efficient at using oxygen than the less-fit children. When he tested their mental capabilities, it was clear that the fit children had a greater ability to remember and integrate various types of information than their less-fit peers. He knew that a part of the brain called the hippocampus is particularly important for the formation of memories, so he gave these children an electronic brain scan to measure the relative size of structures in the brain. When he analysed the MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) data, he found that the physically fit children had a bigger hippocampus than the out-of-shape ones. On average, it was 12% larger which is clear evidence that physically fit children perform better in academic tests than unfit children. This happens because the physical exercise, which has made them fit, has also enlarged the parts of the brain that improve memory through the production of nerve growth factors.

       This is very significant information for the education of our children. I have studied the National Curriculum and it contains no requirement to improve the physical fitness of children during PE lessons. There is no mention of a raised heartbeat or increased strength but children are expected to be able to explain why exercise is good for them. There is a great opportunity here for schools to improve the performance of their children. Other research in the book also shows that increased exercise and fitness is likely to improve their general health, mental health, self-esteem and long term prospects.

Why ‘Veganuary’ is a bad idea

As the New Year begins, many people seek to lose weight and improve their health through a change in their diet. Some will be tempted to try a plant-based diet for a whole month, by signing up to ‘Veganuary’. Nutritional science deems this to be a bad idea because a vegan diet is nutritionally deficient.

Eating nothing but plants is fine for herbivores but humans are not herbivores. We require the nutrients found only in animal foods if we are to be healthy.
• Humans have been eating meat for hundreds of thousands of years. We evolved into the dominant species on the planet because of our regular consumption of meat, which is the most nutrient-dense and easily-absorbed food available to us.
• Veganism is a modern, fad diet. In the Western world, it began with a religious group known as the Church of the Seventh Day Adventists. Recent polls have shown that 80% of vegans eventually go back to eating meat because their health has declined.
• Vitamin B12 does not exist in plants; we can only obtain it from eating animals or by taking supplements in tablet form. This vitamin is essential for the formation of red blood cells and the integrity of our brain and nerve fibres. It is vital for children, whose brains are growing, to consume plenty of milk, eggs and meat to get enough B12.
• 12% of the structure of a human brain consists of an omega-3 fatty acid known as DHA. It is necessary for conscious thought, DHA is only found in animal foods. This may well explain why vegans suffer from depression at a higher rate than omnivores.

The Veganuary website boasts of its connection with many food producers, who continue to add to their range of vegan options. Food manufacturers are very happy to support this because they make far more profit out of the cheap ingredients in a ‘meatless burger’ than they do when they use real meat. We can all expect to see more ‘vegan’ options appearing in supermarkets. This does not happen because they are more healthy; it happens because they are more profitable.

The Veganuary website also talks about the avoidance of animal cruelty, without telling you that the vast majority of UK farmers take great care of their livestock. It also fails to mention all the small wild creatures, like field mice, that are killed when a plant crop is harvested by large machines, nor all the thousands of bees, birds and insects that die from the spraying of toxic pesticides. Because of the way plant food is grown, more animals die to feed a vegan than die to feed a carnivore.

Most people do not stop to think where vegetables come from in the middle of January. Many of them come from the vast expanse of plastic polytunnels that cover 160 square miles of the Spanish coast near Almeira. This is not eco-friendly food production Read more about it here

If you want to improve your health in January, cut back on carbohydrates and replace them with healthy fats; avoid ultra-processed foods; cook your own real food that comes from a farmer or fisherman not a factory.

Game Changers – the Truth

In recent weeks, I have been asked many times if I have seen ‘Game Changers’ and what I thought about it. Apparently, this film is regarded as convincing by many people. I watched it so that I can give my honest appraisal.

Having spent several years researching the science of our dietary needs and our evolution, I can state categorically that it is impossible for a vegan diet to be superior to an omnivore diet or, indeed, an entirely carnivorous diet. I can make this statement because we are not herbivores. This is the only indisputable fact that anyone needs to remember when wondering if veganism is for them. If you are a member of the human race, veganism cannot be your optimum diet: it is lacking in too many essential nutrients.

My book is called Stop Feeding Us Lies for a very good reason. We are constantly bombarded with myths, misinformation, fake news and downright lies. You just have to watch a political debate to know that. ‘Game Changers’ is just another big lie. It is part of a large and well-coordinated attack on our traditional foods by vested interests. Those vested interests are food manufacturing companies that stand to make a fortune if they persuade enough people to stop eating the animal foods our ancestors have been eating for a million years and switch to fake foods made in their laboratories.

The producer of ‘Game Changers’ is just one of those vested interests. His name is James Cameron and he is the founder and CEO of Verdiant Foods, an organic pea protein company with the goal of becoming “the largest pea protein fractionation facility in North America.” Pea protein isolate is the main ingredient in all those fake meat products that have recently arrived on the shelves. ‘Game Changers’ is not science: it is an indirect advertisement for the producer’s business. If this film persuaded you to go vegan, I believe you have been duped by a clever advert.

Do not just take my word for it. This link is to an independent, scientific review of the so-called ‘facts’

The film claimed they had evidence that Gladiators in Ancient Rome ate a plant-based diet and this was supposed to convince us that veganism conferred physical strength on these people. The truth is that gladiators were slaves and ate what they were given. Also, they needed to be fat rather than strong because the more fat they had the more protection their vital organs had from cuts and blows.

There was one section in the film which I thought nobody could be fooled by, but perhaps I was wrong. I did not think anybody could be gullible enough to believe that a meal of vegetables, rather than meat, would make a man’s penis significantly larger (while he was asleep!) I suppose most men (and perhaps women) would like to believe something so unlikely might just be true.

We evolved into who we are because our ancestors ate meat for a million years. When I go to my local butcher’s shop and buy some meat; the butcher got it from a local farmer; the local farmer reared it on his fields using sunlight, rainwater and the fetiliser that came out of the cow. There is nowhere in this process for global corporations to make any money and that is why they are trying to persuade us it is wrong. It isn’t wrong; it is exactly what we should all be doing for the good of our health, the benefit of our local communities and the climate.

My complaint to the BBC

This is my complaint to the BBC about ‘Meat: a threat to our planet?’

Whilst I agree that the US Feedlots shown are an awful way to treat cattle and we should not be catching fish to feed to animals, this programme completely failed to show how sustainable farming is done in the UK. If it had pointed out the difference between the worst practise and the best of animal farming it would have been very useful. It did not. It implied that all animal farming is bad and damaging. This is a lie by omission. The programme completely over-used emotion in trying to change people’s perspectives. Many of the statistics given were grossly exaggerated.
The truth, which was completely ignored, is that correctly managed, grass-fed ruminant animals increase soil fertility and biodiversity; they sequester carbon into the soil and can be carbon negative. They provide the most complete and nutrient dense food our species can eat. Methane emitted by cattle is part of a carbon cycle and does not cause global warming. How can it do so when ruminants have been burping methane for 50 million years? Independent UK farmers care for their animals and the land: this programme implied they are pariahs.
The clear instruction that we should all stop eating meat involved absolutely no mention of nutrition. Research from all over the world has shown that children on vegan diets suffer from stunting, failure to thrive, a wide variety of mineral deficiencies and serious, sometimes irreversible, neurological defects. This programme openly encouraged parents to risk severe developmental problems in their children without any word of warning about the removal of meat from their diets.
As a licence fee payer, I insist that you balance this anti-meat propaganda with a programme showing how UK livestock farmers provide nutritious food in a fully sustainable way, whilst improving the soil and sequestering carbon.


The ecosystem of Earth evolved over hundreds of millions of years. It flourishes because it is always in balance. Plants grow in the ground, herbivores eat the plants and carnivores eat the herbivores. This process evolved because it works. We evolved into exactly what we are today because our ancestors ate a largely carnivorous diet for a couple of million years. How can we be sure this is true?

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Breakfast Cereal

Have you ever wondered where breakfast cereal came from? Nearly everybody eats it nowadays and we are told it is a wholesome way to start the day, but who invented it and why? It will probably come as no surprise to learn that the first breakfast cereal was invented by a man called John Harvey Kellogg in 1878. It will probably come as quite a surprise to learn why he did it.

Read moreBreakfast Cereal

The Basics of Nutrition

Our food consists of three macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate and fat) and many micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).The macronutrients provide our energy and a lot of the structure of our bodies. The micronutrients are involved in a wide range of systems, hormones and enzymes that keep our bodies running smoothly. We need the right amounts of all of them to function at our very best.

Read moreThe Basics of Nutrition