According to research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, children who have diets high in processed foods may have a lower IQ. This comes via findings from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. The study “tracks the long term health and wellbeing of around 14,000 children born in 1991 and 1992.”
The researchers looked at three different diets: Processed, traditional, and health conscious. Proceeed diets were high in fat and sugar, traditional were high in meat and vegetables, and health conscious were high in salad, fruit, vegetables, rice, and pasta.
IQ was measured after 5 years, at age 8.5.
The processed diet at age 3 was associated with a lower IQ at age 8.5. The inverse was also true, with a healthy diet being associated with a higher IQ.
According to the research, the brain grows the fastest during the first three years of life. What you feed a child during this time has a profound effect on intelligence.
This study is an interesting starting point, but the diet selections are way off base. What they call a “health conscious” diet is full of carbohydrates. I would call their classifications into question. It would be interesting to perform this same experiment using a true healthy diet and see if that resulted in a higher IQ than the traditional diet. Further, I’d like to see this carried out over the course of decades. I wonder if the IQ continues to degrad over time while on the bad diet.
Regardless, I hope this will make parents think twice about what they feed their children.
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