Want Dumber Kids? Feed Them Junk Food

There are more compelling reasons to avoid junk food than a two-point drop in IQ, but a new study from the University of Adelaide in South Australia does show the impact of food on growing minds as well as bodies.

The study, led by Dr. Lisa Smithers, compared dietary patterns of more than 7000 children. Their diets were recorded at six months, 15 months and two years. When they reached the age of eight their IQ’s were tested.

Dr. Smithers says:

We found that children who were breastfed at six months and had a healthy diet regularly including foods such as legumes, cheese, fruit and vegetables at 15 and 24 months, had an IQ up to two points higher by age eight.

Those children who had a diet regularly involving biscuits, chocolate, lollies, soft drinks and chips in the first two years of life had IQs up to two points lower by age eight.

We also found some negative impact on IQ from ready-prepared baby foods given at six months, but some positive associations when given at 24 months.

Earlier studies have already shown an alarming increase in diet-related diseases in children. For example, Type 2 diabetes, traditionally referred to as “adult-onset” diabetes, is being diagnosed in children as young as two. Heart disease and certain cancers are also increasing in younger populations.

The new study doesn’t make excessive claims, and it is only one study. The results show minor effects and need to be verified by further research. However, they are part of a larger picture that should guide our thinking about food. While a couple of IQ points are unlikely to change a child’s future, when added to diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, they form a pattern that should influence what we feed children. As Dr. Smithers says:

While the differences in IQ are not huge, this study provides some of the strongest evidence to date that dietary patterns from six to 24 months have a small but significant effect on IQ at eight years of age,” Dr Smithers says.

It is important that we consider the longer-term impact of the foods we feed our children

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Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for sharing.

Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Elena T.
Elena P5 years ago

Thank you :)

Kathy Perez
Kathy J5 years ago

not a shock. we hate the stuff. its not even GOOD

kathryn foster-martin

This is not surprising. Very sad. We have more problems in American, though. We fail to help children who are victims of violence, neglect, drug addiction and gang activity. If we start giving children the respect they deserve, we can tackle nutrition...or, shall I say, if we remove them from these horrific situations their "new" caregivers are concerned with nutrition.

Wendy Schroeder
Wendy Schroeder5 years ago

Sadly, parents need in America need a more compelling reason not to give their children junk food. Intelligence seems to be vilified here.

annie s.
christine s5 years ago

Raw food if possible but definitely fresh veg and fruit. No meat or dairy-----worked for me.

Jessica O.
Jessica O5 years ago

Dumber or not why would you poision your kids with junk food??

Dan B.
Dan Brook5 years ago

I've always tried to feed my kid the healthiest food I could get.

check out my

Food for Thought---and Action


Charli S.
Charlotte S5 years ago

This is one study. My generation grew up eating tons of junk food. I have an IQ of over 165. I wonder what my IQ would have been had I not ate so much junk food. How many babies (6 to 24 months) are able to eat junk food without the parents feeding it to them. My grandkids eat very little junk food. both are smart as whips.