According to a recent study, in addition to the risk of obesity, giving your toddlers a diet of processed foods can lower their IQs as well. A group of researchers from the England`s University of Bristol found that a child`s diet at age 3 has a huge impact on their cognitive abilities at age 8. Healthy eating habits were shown to provide higher IQ scores in comparison to diets rich in sugar and fat. This report is basically “the first study to suggest a direct link between the diet of young children and their brainpower” years later” and it was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. This study dealt with examination of data on almost 4,000 children born in the early 1990s.
The data included information gathered from parents on what the children consumed at specific ages as well as results of the IQ tests performed at the age of 8.5. The data was classified into three categories, depending on whether kids were given a “processed” diet full of fat and sugar; a “traditional” diet of “meat, potatoes, bread and vegetables”; or a “health-conscious” diet heavy on salad, fruit, rice, and fish. The children`s diet was also assessed on a point scale, “which ranged from minus two for the most healthy to 10 for the most unhealthy.” It was found that kids at the age of 8.5 who followed the worst diet as toddlers had lower IQs in comparison to the ones who followed a healthier diet. Each increase by one point in the 12-point unhealthy foods scale was linked to a 1.67-point drop in IQ. In addition, the researchers modified the data based on other factors as well, such as parental education and socioeconomic status. They found that any improvement in the diet after age 3 didn’t affect the IQ levels, or in other words, it didn’t show any jump in the IQ. According to Sierra at Strollerderby, “The kids most affected by this IQ loss were eating predominantly processed foods.” This means that their diet was mainly based on stuff that comes in boxes and tubes.
Even though a cookie or chips once in a while isn’t terrible, your child should be given more fresh foods. As stated by Dr. Pauline Emmett, one of the study`s authors, “This doesn’t mean you should never give your child a fizzy drink, chips, or pizza, but these foods and drinks shouldn’t dominate the diet.”