A British paper, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health by the British Medical Association (BMA), says that having a diet rich in processed foods, fats and sugar may lead to a lower IQ in later years.
The research, called the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), studied 14,000 people born in Western England in 1991 and 1992 and looked at their health and overall development at ages three, four, seven and eight and a half years old.
The parents of the children included in the study were asked to answer questionnaires on details regarding their kids’ diet.
The study revealed three kinds of dietary patterns: • High in processed fats and sugar • High in meat and vegetables (considered “traditional”) • Lots of salad, fruit, vegetables, pasta, rice (considered “health-conscious”)
As the children turned eight and a half years old, their IQ was measured by means of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale.
Among 4,000 children with complete information, the researchers observed a notable decline in IQ from those falling under the high-processed dietary pattern group versus those falling under the “health-conscious” group.
To detail: • 20 percent from the high-processed group had an IQ average of 101 points • 20 percent from the health-conscious group had an IQ average of 106 points
Says one of the researchers, Pauline Emmett from the School of Social and Community Medicine at the University of Bristol, "It's a very small difference, it's not a vast difference, but it does make them less able to cope with education, less able to cope with some of the things in life."
While there have long been debates over the association of nutrition to intelligence, it is still important to note that other factors may create an effect on intelligence, such as economic or social background.
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