Think you’re born with a certain IQ and there’s nothing you can do about it?
Think again. A long-term health research project tracking the dietary intake of around 14,000 children born in the early 90’s identified three dietary patterns:
- processed (high in sugar and fat)
- traditional (high in meat and vegetables)
- health conscious (lots of salad, rice, pasta, fruit and vegetables).
Never mind that many experts– such as myself– would strongly argue against labeling a diet high in rice and pasta and low in protein as “health conscious”, but that’s a subject for another day.
At the age of 8.5 years, the researchers then measured the childrens IQ. After accounting for just about every factor that could possibly make a difference, the researchers were left with a stunning finding: those eating the “processed” food diet from the beginning of the study to the time of the IQ measurement had significantly lower IQs than those eating the other two diets.
Worse, it didn’t seem to matter if their diet improved after that. The authors of the study—known as the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children—had this to say to Science Daily: “This suggests that any cognitive/behavioural effects relating to eating habits in early childhood may well persist into later childhood, despite any subsequent changes (including improvements) to dietary intake,” adding that “It is possible that good nutrition during this period may encourage optimal brain growth”.
Bottom line: It’s never too early to start training your kids to eat a whole foods diet. They’ll probably thank you for the rest of their lives.