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A study that was recently published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health suggests that children who eat diets rich in fruit, vegetables and whole grains early in life may end up smarter than their peers who ate processed food.
Researchers reviewed the health data of 4,000 children who were part of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.
The kids' diets were divided into three categories: processed, traditional and healthy. Those in the processed category ate excessive fat, sugar and packaged food, while kids in the traditional group consumed mainly meat and vegetables. Children in the healthy group ate fruits, vegetables, rice and pasta.
When given an IQ test at age eight-and-a-half, kids who ate processed foods at age three showed significantly lower scores than those who ate a healthier diet at the same young age. Further, the negative impact of an unhealthy diet on IQ scores was greater than the positive impact of consuming healthier food.
Moreover, the authors of the study noted that eating habits between the ages of four and seven had no impact on IQ scores taken at age eight-and-a-half.