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Wednesday 19th June 2019

Diet can affect intelligence

8th February 2011

Researchers at Bristol University have said a diet high in sugar and fat could have a detrimental effect on children's intelligence.


The research made a connection between an unhealthy diet and a lower IQ. The study, which was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, suggested that unhealthy eating could affect brain development.

The diets of around 4,000 children were recorded as part of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.

The researchers said there were three kinds of diet: healthy diets (salads, fruit and fish), traditional diets (meat and potatoes) and processed diets (high in fat and sugar).

The children were all given an IQ test when they were aged eight and a half and their dietary habits were recorded at three, four, seven and eight and a half.

The researchers found an unhealthy diet at the age of three was associated with a "slightly lower" IQ at the age of eight and a half.

Dr Pauline Emmett, who carried out the study at Bristol University, said: "Brain development is much faster in early life, it's when it does most of its growing. It seems that what happens afterwards is less important."

Fiona Ford, spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, said: "The research confirms the type of advice we already know, but that's not always enough. Sometimes a society has to help a person change, we need to be educating more young parents about healthy eating."


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