Poor concentration affects 75% of students, many of whom skip breakfast

Three quarters of students admit concentration levels are a problem, yet more than a quarter (27.5%) of the same students fail to eat anything prior to lectures, research shows.


The connection between nutrition and concentration has been known for some time. Harvard Medical School states “what you eat directly affects the structure and function of your brain, and ultimately your mood”.

To explore this, retailer Approved Food commissioned the surveys, which asked students: ‘What do you find most difficult about lectures?’ and ‘What would you normally eat before a lecture?’

The results suggest that students having a problem concentrating on their studies may wish to look at their dietary intake in a bid to improve focus.


According to the survey, students who did eat prior to their studies confessed to choosing food that doesn’t have the optimum nutritional value, such as cereal (23.3%) or a sandwich (18.4%).

A mere 1.8% of students selected porridge – a food renowned for boosting brain power and providing slow releasing energy — making it the least popular choice beneath fast food, fruit and toast.

Poor diet — a factor synonymous with student living — is often a result of restricted finances. However, online grocery retailer Approved Food provides a cost-effective solution for students in the name of short-dated foods.

Dan Cluderay, from Approved Food, says: “Short-dated food that has reached or is nearing its ‘best before’ date is still absolutely fine to eat; however, many retailers discard this food as waste. This is obviously a ridiculous waste of perfectly good food. We specialise in sourcing high-quality short-dated foods and supplying them at a reduced price to our customers, enabling anyone — not least those on tighter budgets such as students — to access a wide variety of top brand nutritious foods at a fraction of the cost.”

Other difficulties encountered by students received far fewer votes than concentration. ‘Understanding the subject matter’ came second with 13.3%, significantly smaller than the 72.4% who cited concentration.

This confirms that concentration is a serious issue for students — but one that can easily be addressed with improved nutrition.

Increased awareness of cheaper shopping options would undoubtedly improve the quality of student diets, ultimately having a positive knock-on effect on their grades.

There is a general misconception regarding the freshness guidelines on UK packaging, as Dan concludes: “Just because a food product is nearing or past its ‘best before’ date does not mean that it is not fit for consumption, the date simply indicates when the flavours are likely to reach their peak. Goods carrying a ‘use by’ date — usually fresh meats and dairy products — are the ones that could be harmful if consumed past the date; therefore, we do not stock anything carrying a ‘use by’ date.”



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