By Margarita Nahapetyan
More than 30 per cent of British teens admit that they use caffeine tablets and energy drinks in order to better study for exams, a new survey has revealed.
According to the new findings, 8 out of 10 teenagers (79 per cent) who took part in the survey, have reported that they were likely to snack more and eat more junk food when revising for exams. A study by the School Food Trust also found that 25 per cent (one in four) of the 500 UK teenagers with the ages between 13 and 17 years, used energy drinks enriched with caffeine, while 11 per cent reported to be taking caffeine pills.
A chairwoman of the Trust, Prue Leith said that there was clear evidence that "smart eating" boosted brain power. It is often said that you get out what you put in, Leith added, saying that their study demonstrated that children are able to show better performance in class after having a healthy school lunch instead of junk food. Children are not stupid and they understand pretty well that healthy food is better for them, and that a healthy breakfast and a balanced school lunch will provide them with more energy for their studies and help them to stay better focused" Leith said.
However, four out of ten (42 per cent) surveyors reported that they had skipped meals in order to have more time to revise, while nine in 10 said that they felt tired on a regular basis because of their school work. The researchers said that as a result, only 50 per cent of teenagers who took part in the poll, could only study for half an hour before losing concentration. Yet approximately half (48 per cent) agreed that eating a proper lunch contributed to better concentration during lessons, and less than one in 5 felt that physical activity was important in their study regime.
The poll has revealed that chocolate appears to be the revision food of choice, selected by more than 4 in ten (42 per cent) of those in the survey, followed by fizzy drinks and coockies (33 per cent and 31 per cent respectively). And children tended to be aware of which foods would boost the work of their brains and help with concentration. These include fish, fruit and vegetables.
The School Food Trust has published a new guide to brain-boosting foods, backed by cookery professional Prue Leith. The trust recommends students to start their day with a healthy wholegrain cereal such as muesli or porridge or wholegrain toast, and substituting fizzy drinks with water and caffeine drinks with herbal tea.
The trust also warns that energy boosting snacks like sweets and biscuits may have an instant effect but at a later time, soon after they release their energy, they can make you "crash and burn." Instead, it is better if students made their choice in favor of healthy snacks and took regular breaks on their revision every two or three hours. "Making that choice, and sticking with it, especially prior to exam time, could be the difference between success and failure,"the authors concluded.