An Unhealthy Diet Lowers Intelligence In Children

A diet high in processed foods and high in fat and sugar results in lower intelligence quotients (IQ) in children, while fresh foods lead to significantly smarter children. At least that’s what British scientists found in a study with around 14,000 children.

Less intelligent from processed food

When children are three years old, eating mostly processed, high-fat, and high-sugar foods have a very negative impact on their intelligence later in life.

Healthy eating promotes intelligence

The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children examines the long-term health of 14,000 children.

British scientists from the University of Bristol found that a diet rich in nutrients and vitamins can increase the development of mental performance during childhood.

The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health reports that a child’s diet when they are three years old can affect the IQ they will have by age 8.5.

Eating mistakes can no longer be corrected

The authors of the study also discovered that nutritional mistakes in young children apparently could no longer be ironed out – at least not as far as the intelligence quotient was concerned.

This means that if children were fed an unhealthy diet at the age of three, then this also has a negative effect on their intelligence in later childhood if they eat healthier food again after the age of three.

The unhealthier the diet, the lower the IQ

The parents of the children taking part in the study had completed questionnaires and provided detailed information on the nutrition of their children at the ages of three, four, seven, and eight and a half years.

Interestingly, each minus point given in the evaluation of the questionnaires for bad food components or bad eating habits led to a drop in IQ of 1.67 points.

Conversely, every plus point for healthy nutrition, e.g. B. for the frequent consumption of salad, rice, pasta, fish, and fruit, an IQ increase of 1.2 points.

The brain grows fastest during the first three years of life. As a result, scientists now suspect that good nutrition during this phase of life also contributes to optimal brain development.

Michael Nelson, Head of Research, School Meals said:

Around 23 percent of all school entrants are overweight or even obese. A healthy lifestyle in the early development of children can lead to a healthy body weight at school age and on the other hand – as this study shows – improve the performance of the children at school.
These results show how important it is to educate all parents, as well as those who work with young children, about truly healthy child nutrition.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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