Six Types of Medical Students Based on Feeding Habit

Researchers say that approximately 6,000 thoughts go through the mind of an individual in a day. However, I’d wager that a lot more goes through the minds of medical students. Coupled with constant thoughts of how much we have to study and multiple life decisions, we are also plagued by annoying mundane thoughts such as what to wear and what to eat. The most annoying one has to be what to eat. This thought is such a constant intruder, that at times we find ourselves thinking about what our next meal will be while still eating one. Nonetheless, if you peer into the diet of most medical students you’ll find that it is a mess and understandably so.

The medical student’s brain does a lot of work everyday and thus requires a large and constant supply of glucose. Tight schedules that start early in the morning and end late in the evening. The back-to-back lectures and exams, practical classes, clinical rotations, presentations and many other activities that require thinking on one’s feet. Not to mention the overwhelming amount of stuff that needs to be studied, known and retained. There is little time to plan and do anything else.

This hectic lifestyle often results in a majority of medical students skipping meals – especially breakfast, the most important meal of the day – and even adopting suboptimal, “fast” food choices.

The average Nigerian med student’s diet consists majorly of junk food, snacks, soft drinks, energy drinks and processed food like noodles, spaghetti e.t.c… And of course the greatest of all time – Garri. Many medical students can testify of countless nights after a long day that garri came through as a savior from hunger.

It goes without saying that the nutritional value of most foods consumed by medical students is low. Of course, many of them know this. However, as long as these foods do the job of filling the belly and keeping hunger at bay, they do not mind being hypocrites despite knowing the danger and long-term effects. After all, hunger is hardly ever subject to reason.

Nonetheless, it is noteworthy there is some variety among this fascinating crop of students – especially some particularly interesting outliers. Read on to discover five types of medical students based off their dietary lifestyle and choices.

1. Àgbá Cooks

They are medical students that double as chefs, the Hildas of medical school. These ones always cook their meals, despite the hustle and bustle of medical school. They do this either because they truly love to cook or they are extremely picky eaters who are particular about their health and thus have trust issues with external sources of nutrition. In many cases, cooking could also be due to sapa, that is, financial constraint-induced talent. I mean, these students cook even during in-course and professional medical board exam periods! When there is no time, they will somehow make the time, they are that dedicated. It’s why they are àgbá cooks!🙌

2. The Fit Fam

This set of students takes their diet seriously. They make sure they eat healthily, drink a lot of water and exercise, no matter how tight their schedule is. They are also particular about eating fruits and vegetables which researchers say is something many medical students rarely do. The percentage of medical students that eat the required amounts of fruits and vegetables is so low that it would seem the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor (or in this case the doctor-to-be) away” has a literal application. Ironically, many medical students do not belong to the fit fam. However, any day that a med student manages to either eat a fruit or vegetable or get some exercise done, no matter how little it might be, it feels like a great achievement.

It doesn’t help that fruits are more expensive in comparison to fast food. The amount of money that will buy 2 apples would buy 3 wraps of fùfú and who could blame a student in need of high amounts of energy and satisfaction for choosing the cheaper and more filling option?🤷‍♀️

3. The Fearless Predators and Monsters

Many medical students bank on caffeine to stay active and alert but this set of students take it to a whole new level. They thrive on sodas and energy drinks. You hardly ever see them without one and you can easily recognize them by their red eyes, sleep-deprived looks and constant headache complaints. The same characteristics of real predators and monsters, am I right?

Do they know too much is bad for their health? Yes. Will they continue to drink it in excess anyway? You bet.😏

4. Garium Specialists

Garri, aka cassava flakes, is such a reliable companion for medical students especially in times of financial constraints. It is very quick and easy to make – whether as a swallow or as a drink. But of course, some of us overdo it. And by some of us, I mean the garium specialists.  Garri forms the bulk of their diet. They can drink garri every single day. They love it that much!. Yeah , we all understand that garri is the GOAT – but, Come on! Sometimes you can indulge yourself and eat some stir-fry, my dear😉.

5. Spectra Loyalists / Mummy Sarah’s children

In IFUMSA, Spectra is where you’ll often find these ones when it is time to eat. And if they live close to the campus gate, then Mummy Sarah might be their go-to for dinner. However, generally, they are the ones fattening the pockets of fast food joints, restaurants and food delivery services. With the busy and hectic schedule of med school life, it is way easier to simply go to a nearby restaurant or canteen and buy food- or better yet, order it and have it delivered to you in the comfort of your home or hostel. Nonetheless, to be in this category, you have to have money and as a regular you must have plenty of it

6. The Snack and Provisions crew

They buy and store up provisions like cornflakes, golden morn, milk, Bournvita or Milo which usually serve as a quick breakfast. And they buy snacks like biscuits, doughnuts, flour and fried foods in general while on the go. They can eat cornflakes cereal in the morning and take biscuits in the afternoon. Then at night, because of a hectic day, they are too tired to cook. Their account balance also advises against buying food so they end up eating cornflakes again. Rinse and repeat for 3 days and by the fourth day they realize they should eat good food… Oh wait a minute!🙎‍♀️ Oops 😅. They is me. I am they.🙂

Many people do tell me that cornflakes is not real food, that it is a snack or appetizer at best. Before, I did not agree but now that a sachet or pack contains more air than the actual cereal I agree 1000%. In fact, it should be considered the appetizer before an appetizer.

Many students in this category (If I am not the only one) also have a habit of eating just provisions once they have it in stock and will not consider other foods until the provisions run out.

On the flip side though, having provisions is good. They can be life savers like garri, especially in the mornings. However, they should not be taken as main meals for an extended period of time.

A typical med student exhibits two or more of these dietary habits depending on their situation whether it be examination period or they are low on cash. However, as a medical student, there will always be one group you belong to more than the others.

It is pertinent to end by saying that although this article is particular about Nigerian medical students, research done on medical students all over the world has proven that the medical students’ diet is poor and mostly unhealthy despite them knowing better. However, we can do better by being intentional about our diet and what we are taking into our bodies. As we often say, “you are what you eat”. Therefore, you should inculcate good dietary habits despite your busy schedule.

You can make a food timetable that will ensure you have a well balanced diet and make conscious efforts to drink plenty of water and eat fruits and vegetables. There are a lot of apps that can help and You can also check out our food and health columns for many helpful and healthy diet tips.

Do you know of any other dietary habits exhibited by medical students? And which of the groups listed above do you belong to? Feel free let us know in the comments.

3 replies on “Six Types of Medical Students Based on Feeding Habit”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *