Junk Food Makes Kids Dumber

Junk food can affect kids' IQ scores
Junk food can affect kids' IQ scores

We all know by now that we should be feeding our kids healthier foods. Oreos are out; carrot sticks are the new snack time favorite. We’re supposed to watch for pesticides, trans fats, excessive fat and sugar, artificial colors and hormone-disrupting chemicals.

In short, we’re just not supposed to feed our kids junk food. For good reason. Study after study shows how much diet affects young kids’ health. It’s especially critical during the first three years of life.

Think those Twinkies aren’t really hurting anyone? Think again. Obesity isn’t the only danger lurking in processed junk food. High fat, sugary snacks can also affect kids’ developing minds. Specifically, eating a lot of junk food can make you stupid.

The Guardian reports that kids who eat large junk foods have lower IQ scores as they grow up. Per the Guardian:

A predominantly processed-food diet at the age of three is directly associated with a lower IQ at the age of eight and a half, according to a Bristol-based study of thousands of British children.

The researchers used a point scale to evaluate a child’s diet. Each point on the scale corresponded to a loss of 1.67 IQ points by the time these kids hit third grade. That’s pretty disturbing.

They were also looking at some pretty extreme diets. We’re not talking about an extra piece of birthday cake once in awhile. We’re not even talking about the embarrassing amount of homemade cookies that get produced and devoured in my kitchen.

The kids most affected by this IQ loss were eating predominantly processed foods. That means more processed food than fruit, more processed food than vegetables, than meat, than bread. A whole diet of stuff that comes in tubes and boxes. No wonder it affects their health.

There’s nothing here that makes me worry about my own cookie habit with my kids. It does make me worry even more about the many kids growing up in America’s urban “food deserts” where the closest grocery store with a produce section might be miles away. Studies like this really highlight the ongoing need for a food revolution, here and abroad.

Photo: happymealy