17. Exam help – more on food

Dear Isaac

Continuing with your diet points.

Your “No thanks!” foods 

I know this list has some of your favourite things on it. But remember you can eat them when your exams are finished in just a few weeks. And if you can’t stop yourself before then, remember the 80:20 rule. Eat well for at least 80% of the time.

Refined sugars – Sweets, ice cream, pastries, soft drinks, most fast food outlets, biscuits and anything with refined sugar is out because it spikes your sugar levels. And this makes you more tired and more stressed once the sugar high has left you.

So, try a piece of fruit for a “treat”!

Just say no!

White carbs – Snacking foods such as crisps, pies, things made from white flour, white bread, and white pasta also spike your sugar levels.

So, snack on slow-release carbs such as whole grain crackers, natural peanut butter, wholemeal toast, avocado and hummus with sticks of vegetables.

Caffeine – I can’t lie – I love a coffee. Or two. After all, it’s a stimulant (like energy drinks which I really loathe!) and so it lifts your mood. If you have too much it almost always leaves you feeling worse than you did before. 

So, cut out the Coke, fizzy drinks and coffee as much as you can. And drink water and decaffeinated drinks.


If you’re dehydrated your brain really isn’t working anywhere near peak efficiency. Being dehydrated means you are:

  • less in control of your moods
  • less able to think clearly
  • lack energy
  • unable to concentrate well
  • weak at remembering things
  • slow at revision

How to tell if you’re dehydrated – if you have dry lips and a dry mouth or if your urine is smelly or is not clear then you’re well on your way to being dehydrated.  

Solution – drink more water. With no fruit added. At all. Drink as many glasses of water a day until your urine is clear and not smelly.  

Or ordinary tea or/and herbal teas with no sugar, of course.

To summarise on diet

  • Eat food that has been processed as little as possible.
  • Eat as much antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits as possible.
  • Have a variety of colours on the plate.
  • Eat good fat foods such as avocados, nuts, seeds, oily fish.
  • Eat three meals a day.
  • Lastly, remember the 80:20 rule… if you feed your body and brain well for 80% (or more) of the time that’s great – don’t stress out if you’re not perfect all the time!!