Processed food linked to lower kids' IQs
February 7th, 2011
06:35 PM ET

Processed food linked to lower kids' IQs

If a 3-year-old eats too much processed food, it might lower his or her  IQ by the age of 8, a new study suggests. Researchers in Britain tracked what 14,000 children ate and drank at the ages of 3, 4, 7, and 8.5 years of age, by asking parents to complete questionnaires detailing their child's diet.

The study authors suggest their study found some evidence that when 3-year-old children eat a diet rich in foods that are high in fat, high in sugar and are processed, their IQ may find a small decrease in their IQ five years later.   On the flip side, this new study suggests eating a healthy, nutrient rich diet may be associated with a small increase in IQ.

The study authors note that in this paper "we report weak but novel associations between dietary patterns in early childhood...with general intelligence assessed at 8.5 years of age." Their research also suggests that what a child eats in the first three years of life is associated with a modest decrease in intelligence, but what a child ate at age 4 and 7 did not.

Dr. Sandra Hassink, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Obesity Leadership Workgroup, agrees with the study authors that "these are weak and novel associations,"
which means it doesn't actually prove that a diet of processed food causes a lower IQ. Hassink says there are "so many variables in a child's life," which makes it very difficult to tease out what exactly is leading to a drop in IQ assessments. She says that for a pediatrician, what happens early in a child's development is very important and that this study is a reminder that all the environmental influences on early childhood need further study.

Until more research is available, Hassink says, the AAP recommends giving your child a healthy diet; reading to your child, having family routines and structure and lots of physical activity all contribute to the healthy development of children.

The study appeared Monday online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. Inmyopinion

    What's the excuse for all the dumb and low IQ parents who were born and raised when there were barely any processed foods sold in the stores who now are raising these low IQ children, perhaps there is a connection there besides food????? Maybe scientists should look into dumb and low IQ parents not taking any interest in their children's intelligence, education knowledge since they themselves didn't care about their own intelligence, knowledge, education ????? I heard a parent in the store tell the child the mouse he was looking at was not a rabbit but a ferret, it was a mouse!!!!!

    February 7, 2011 at 19:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Amy

      Low I.Q. and lack of education are two completely different things. A low I.Q. is something you're born with. External factors can affect it somewhat, but not to the degree you're apparently thinking. Someone with a naturally low I.Q. isn't going to be able to get a very good education, because they will lack the capacity to do so, no matter how much they may want it.

      So talking about "dumb and low IQ parents not taking any interest in their children's intelligence, education" etc. is moot. You're acting like people with a low I.Q. can just go to school and fix it.

      February 7, 2011 at 19:24 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Now I understand my life!!!! Baloney sandwiches made me dumb!!

      February 7, 2011 at 19:41 | Report abuse |
    • sickofitall

      Inmyopinion, it is far easier to tell low/average IQ parents to feed their kids "a healthy, nutrient rich diet" to boost their IQ than it is to tell them that they have to buck up and show greater intelligence in their interactions with their children.

      Based on what I read and hear from many not-exactly-intelligent parents, mere good intentions seem to trump both education and IQ as far as qualifying somebody to be a "good parent."

      February 7, 2011 at 19:45 | Report abuse |
    • Floris

      I don't think any of those people are still alive. You'd have to go back to the 20s to find a time when that was true.

      February 7, 2011 at 20:02 | Report abuse |
    • Mtnjim

      Not the 20's try the '50's and early '60's.

      February 7, 2011 at 20:10 | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      Amy, IQ is not completely determined by biology, there are many social and environmental factors as well. Connections in the brain are made until puberty, at which time the brain starts pruning and eventually stabilizing. It was thought that new connections could not be made at all post puberty (fixed IQ). Some recent studies did find that new connections do grow, however nowhere near the volume that happen between birth and puberty. Connections are made through exposure and experiences, more connections means a higher IQ. Education between birth and puberty plays a huge role in IQ. It does seem that biology sets a natural range for the IQ of an individual, but nurture plays a huge role in IQ, much more than you apparantly believe.

      February 7, 2011 at 20:43 | Report abuse |
    • meh

      The use of excessive punctuation marks is a sign of lower intelligence.

      February 7, 2011 at 21:49 | Report abuse |
    • Chae Hun Cho

      How big was that mouth? It must have been darn so big! to make that mom mistakenly think of it as a prarie dog! No more canned foods for my son.. and let's eat healthy veggies!

      February 8, 2011 at 01:59 | Report abuse |
    • Jessica

      What part of, "The study authors note that in this paper "we report weak but novel associations between dietary patterns in early childhood," do you not understand? Reading comprehension: try it!

      February 8, 2011 at 08:43 | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      Processed foods have been in the stores for decades now. So it's very well this parents you are talking about also grew up on processed foods. Back in the 1950s a lof these 'qucik and easy' things became very popular and were advertised as the modern way to save housewives from kitchen drudgery. Now that said, idiots do indeed abound these days. But it's far more than just processed food that is causing that.

      February 8, 2011 at 09:26 | Report abuse |
    • Megan

      Low IQ parents' excuse may be that, before we had processed foods so widely available, no one yet knew that smoking, drinking, and taking prescription medicines during pregnancy could have such lasting effects on a fetus. My husband was born in '86, and his mother proudly told me that he was born weighing 6 lbs because she smoked heavily at her doctor's recommendation 'to lower the weight and make childbirth easier.'

      February 8, 2011 at 09:33 | Report abuse |
    • mpouxesas

      ...basically, if you can't FEED them (right) don't BREED them...(right?)

      February 8, 2011 at 11:52 | Report abuse |
    • Lea

      OK, let's look at this rationally – we're going through the "dumbing-down" of America, where there are MANY more processed foods.

      So-called "smart" (educated) people know that processed foods are not good for you, and therefore limit their intake as well as their childrens' intake.

      People who are not so "smart" (and the poor, unfortunately) eat a LOT of processed foods – for one, they're cheaper; and for two, if they haven't been educated about WHY this stuff is hazardous for health, why would they care?

      The statistical insignificance of the descrease and/or increase makes no difference. Perhaps the study should have looked at income and education levels.

      February 8, 2011 at 12:30 | Report abuse |
    • Jessica

      @Lea perhaps you should have read where the article states that it's a weak correlation.

      February 8, 2011 at 13:40 | Report abuse |
    • hank devigne

      drugs and alcohol come to mind

      February 8, 2011 at 15:09 | Report abuse |
  2. Rossum76

    Could it be that parents with low iq's are feeding them this cheap food? I would trust this more if they tested a group of kids with the same level of iq one diet with and without processed foods and look at those results.

    February 7, 2011 at 19:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sickofitall

      My thoughts exactly. They don't say whether they corrected for other obvious factors, e.g. low parental IQ.

      February 7, 2011 at 19:34 | Report abuse |
    • Steven

      It is very annoying that CNN does not bother cover for the obvious. I would expect the scientists try to control for that but who knows if this was well done. I would like this study replicated a few times and a plausibility link found. Otherwise, this is yet more fearmongering from the media and uncareful scientists.

      February 7, 2011 at 21:45 | Report abuse |
  3. mike hunt

    These scientists ate some processed foods as children apparently.

    February 7, 2011 at 19:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sara

      Now that's funny!

      February 7, 2011 at 22:13 | Report abuse |
    • Michael Wong

      They actually admitted that the association is weak and requires further study. Apparently, reading comprehension is not your strong suit, so perhaps you should not be throwing stones from that glass house of yours.

      February 8, 2011 at 11:48 | Report abuse |
    • Kirstyloo

      Just because it isn't in CNN's summary of the research article doesn't mean that it wasn't done. There would need to be some attempt at controlling for this. The question is if it was successful.

      February 8, 2011 at 14:54 | Report abuse |
  4. Karen

    I love it. This is just like cigarettes. Decades after the country has consumed volumes of the stuff, a report comes out that it may be affecting kids' IQ/causing cancer/causing lead poisoning....whatever the issue is. HOW MUCH money are we spending as taxpayers to find out the obvious, record the obvious, report the obvious? If the world came with natural products provided for us and we've strayed into eating "laboratory" everything, what else would be reasonably expected?
    Good fuel fuels good results. Bad fuel fuels bad results.....Hello! Can we use more brains and less taxpayer money? Just a thought. I mean, I could be in charge of pointing out the obvious, if you want.

    February 7, 2011 at 19:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Steven

      Karen, the obvious is often wrong. Also, you are falling for what is called the natural fallacy. For instance, opium may be natural but I can guarantee you that it is not good for you. Countless other "natural products" are very bad for human consumption. Plants did not evolve to be consume by humans, they evolved to make more plants like themselves. Some happen to be good for human consumption but most do not.

      February 7, 2011 at 21:32 | Report abuse |
    • Diana

      Karen, do you live in the UK? If not quit complaining about taxpayer dollars being used on this study. It was done by researchers in Britain. Must be a tea partier, complaining about everything.

      February 8, 2011 at 15:15 | Report abuse |
  5. Sonia

    There are WAY too many confounding variables to say that processed food is linked to lower IQs. Did this study include the lifestyle and parenting habits of the parents? Nope.

    February 7, 2011 at 20:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jessica

      Had you actually read the article, you'd see that the study points out just that. "Hassink says there are "so many variables in a child's life," which makes it very difficult to tease out what exactly is leading to a drop in IQ assessments."

      February 8, 2011 at 08:46 | Report abuse |
  6. jeepers

    Stunning! All these researchers found is that parents who make the extra effort to avoid feeding their kids processed foods (which is not easy to do), are also probably more active in their kids education and learning to begin with. Of course they're smarter! To say this study shows a link between IQ and processed food is absurdly simple minded.

    February 7, 2011 at 20:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Donna

      Thank you.

      February 8, 2011 at 14:41 | Report abuse |
    • Kirstyloo

      Check the paper and see if what if any controls were used.

      February 8, 2011 at 14:55 | Report abuse |
    • A scientist

      Like many posters here, you are so quick to criticize that you missed a couple key points that significantly diminish your argument.

      There are two problems with your comment. First, as pointed out by others, unless you read the actual research article (which you clearly did not), you do not know what variables they controlled for; there are standard methods to attempt to control for parental involvement.

      Second, you state that it is obvious that parents who take the time to make more home-made food will have smarter kids. However, this is not what the research found. They found that diet only significantly mattered up until about age three. Unless you are arguing that the importance of parental involvement ends at age three, your explanation is obviously incorrect (or at least not fully correct).

      February 8, 2011 at 15:40 | Report abuse |
  7. miked

    maybe their high carb junk food diet is actually deficient in healthy fats which help grow the brain. i think the reporter does a disservice making it sound like kids shouldn't eat fat. http://www.fi.edu/learn/brain/fats.html#fatsbuild

    February 7, 2011 at 20:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Clark

    Ha. this is perfect for my psychology report. Food messes with little children brains, it's perfect!

    February 7, 2011 at 20:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Chris Menard

    Lowered vitamin D levels are linked to lower I.Q.'s.

    February 7, 2011 at 20:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Nutty Professor

    Typical scare-mongering headline to get people believing in the next bogeyman.

    February 7, 2011 at 20:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mr. Bones

      So ignore it, then. Keep cramming corn dogs and Twinkies down your kids' throats because some LIBERAL SCIENTIST (they're all liberal America-haters, right?) suggested that eating food-like substances instead of actual food might be making them stupider. Just keep doing it, man. Nobody's gonna by-Gawd tell YOU what to do, right? This is 'Merica. Keep crammin'. Your wide-as-he-is-tall son is out of Pizza Bites. Better fix that. Boy's gonna be a linebacker, Gol-dernit!

      Does that about cover it?

      February 8, 2011 at 16:57 | Report abuse |
  11. Alert Citizen

    How about eating canned crap?

    February 7, 2011 at 21:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Alert Citizen

    I mean stop eating canned crap!

    February 7, 2011 at 21:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jos

      Either way, the fact that there is a market for canned feces is unsettling.

      February 7, 2011 at 22:20 | Report abuse |
    • Jessica

      lolz @ jos!

      February 8, 2011 at 08:54 | Report abuse |
  13. Miriam Hamsa

    Oh my word? You mean our bodies need good nutrition to function properly? How amazing.

    February 7, 2011 at 21:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • FirstResponder

      Yes, and whoever discovered that incredible new fact deserves a Nobel Prize in science!

      February 8, 2011 at 10:11 | Report abuse |
    • Ted

      I heard Al Gore is claiming this Nobel Prize!

      February 8, 2011 at 16:47 | Report abuse |
  14. MikeBell

    I can't eat processed meats. My joints hurt afterward.
    Those synthetic ingredients sure to make it task good though.

    February 7, 2011 at 21:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Lindsay Renfro

    "Their research also suggests that what a child eats in the first three years of life is associated with a modest decrease in intelligence"

    In other words, don't feed your kid. Brilliant, CNN!

    Stop reporting these ridiculous observational studies and implying causal relationships in your headlines. It's dangerous and irresponsible on your part.

    February 7, 2011 at 21:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. jos

    I yam rilly smart an I eat all kinda junk.

    February 7, 2011 at 22:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. rick

    A report of a study that claims "weak but novel associations" is EXACTLY the kind of study that news media needs to stay away from. It's this kind of irresponsible reporting that led people believe that the MMR vaccine causes autism! Shame on CNN for reporting on this nonsense.

    February 7, 2011 at 22:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Joey

    "Their IQ may find a small decrease in their IQ"? haha who writes these articles?

    February 7, 2011 at 22:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Thomas

    What was the socioeconomic status of the families represented? What it a good cross section of the nation? They need to present more data from the study before posting a story like this.

    February 7, 2011 at 22:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • FirstResponder

      Good catch!

      February 8, 2011 at 09:30 | Report abuse |
  20. HockumAndHogwash

    B-S. I was born in 1955. I and my siblings grew up on all the nasty, processed, sugar-laden foods of the 50's, 60's, and 70's. My brother's IQ is 150+., my sister's IQ is 130+, and my own IQ is 148. By this articles reckoning if we'd "not" eaten processed foods we'd all be vying for Stephen Hawkings job. I don't think so. It's all scare tactics and one more excuse for a nanny state.

    February 7, 2011 at 22:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Spijder

      It's not an excuse for a nanny state, it's an excuse to conveniently write off the children of the middle and lower classes.

      February 7, 2011 at 23:14 | Report abuse |
    • Jessica

      With such an amazing IQ, one would think that reading the article might be important to you... Had you comprehended what was written, the article, itself, claims only a weak connection, not causation.

      February 8, 2011 at 08:50 | Report abuse |
    • Donna

      You are too smart to actually READ THE ARTICLE, apparently. They only saw the correlation at the first three years of life, first of all. Second of all, I thought they ate real food all the way back in the 50s. I grew up in the 70s, and yeah, it was processed crap by then.

      February 8, 2011 at 14:45 | Report abuse |
    • A scientist

      Maybe you can have one of those really intelligent siblings explain to you the difference between anecdote and evidence, or why a single counter-example in no way proves that the trends the researchers observed are incorrect.

      They found a very subtle effect of processed on intelligence. Obviously that in no way indicates that all kids who eat processed foods will have low IQ.

      February 8, 2011 at 15:45 | Report abuse |

      Jess Dear, see comment @ DADDIO below. Responded at wrong place...operating w/lower "POST"-I.Q.

      February 9, 2011 at 14:37 | Report abuse |
    • Bernie

      The correlation seems to be very tenuous. Velveeta turns kids brains to mush! More likely the mediocre education received in our schools did the job. The funny thing about general intelligence is that statistically if the parents are very smart their offspring will tend toward the mean especially if the first child is very bright. It has been demonstrated by Glenn Doman that early stimulation will add more brain connections and pathways so again it is important what you do with it. Eating greens like Spinach, Kale and Chard are healthy. Exercise is healthy and gives oxygen to the brain. The brain is fat to a large degree so eating Coconut oil is beneficial for brain health even though it is a plant based saturated fat.

      February 28, 2011 at 20:00 | Report abuse |
  21. R

    I find the comments more interesting than the articles here 😀 @Joey: Someone should seriously consider proofreading and editing the articles before posting.

    February 8, 2011 at 00:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Chae Hun Cho

    It's a very complicated math to know exactly how influential child nutrition to their IQ level, what kinds of foods are like processed foods to lower infant IQ level, and why.. Reasonably thinking child nutrition must play an important role in shapeing biological, and cognitive brain function, but if compared to various other factors that can also influence the almost the same or greater level to children's IQ development, the conclusion can also be almost negligable nor can be proven conclusively. but i still, in my opinion, think processed foods should affect detrimentally to the positive side of brain development and function.. first of all, excessive sugar and fat contents, preservative and other chemical elements, high level of mercury, dioxin.. should hinder flow of health flow of blood to brain, and hinder that growth of brain.. Mercury, lead, PCB, DDT and likewse elements are known to be in higher concerntration in processed foods/or meat oriented diets than fresh fruits and vegetables, and other home made cooks using eggs fresh chicken, salmon.. And they do have effect of lowering child's IQ and even retarded in excessive cases..

    February 8, 2011 at 02:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Mulholland

    A minimal impact in IQ is what their worried about? Forget the eating habits instilled in the kids at an early age that carry on into adulthood leading to morbid obesity that causes heart problems and an array of extremely dangerous health problems. A very mild decrease in IQ that probably has little to no effect on how they function intellectually is our biggest concern here.

    February 8, 2011 at 08:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jessica

      Where in the article does it say they are worried? I believe they call it a "weak but novel" correlation. If anything, this should reassure you that nutrition only has a slight impact on your child's IQ.

      February 8, 2011 at 08:57 | Report abuse |
  24. Anne

    Oh here we go again, another "responsible" article from CNN. Shock and awe – if you don't eat healthy, no matter what your age is, your body suffers?

    Let's face it – if you're shoveling junk food down a 3 year old's throat, you probably don't encourage the kid to exercise or do anything that might encourage intelligence later down the road. It's not the food's fault, it's the fault of the parent for not being responsible or smart enough to make healthy food choices for their child. Let's also not forget that some children are predisposed to a lower IQ because of genetics or other factors. It isn't complicated – a healthy and balanced diet at ANY age is extremely important.

    February 8, 2011 at 08:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • A scientist

      And yet, if you read the article you would have seen that diet had relatively little effect on intelligence after age 3. In other words, your "obvious" prediction (that "a healthy and balanced diet at ANY age is extremely important"), while certainly true for general health, does not seem to be very accurate for intelligence.

      February 8, 2011 at 15:48 | Report abuse |
  25. Scarlett

    What I find ironic is at the top right hand of the page, there is an ad for McDonald's dollar breakfast menu. An article telling you to feed young kids less processed foods while CNN says, "oh nevermind, buy this highly processed food from our advertiser instead!"

    February 8, 2011 at 08:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • FirstResponder

      I see an add for a piano rebuilding company, not McDonalds. Here's something you may not have realized – The ads you are shown on CNN are selected for YOU based on your browsing history, in other words you will see ads based on your "personality profile" as determined by the content of other pages that you (or anyone else connected to your same IP address) have been looking at recently. This "magic" is accomplished through the use of cookies and other tools they use to track your online usage.

      February 8, 2011 at 09:34 | Report abuse |
    • FirstResponder

      Oops – typo: I meant to say "I see an ad for a piano rebuilding company"...

      February 8, 2011 at 09:34 | Report abuse |
    • Sarah in Texas

      Actually I think banner ads are random.

      February 10, 2011 at 10:39 | Report abuse |
    • FirstResponder is an Idiot

      The banner Ads are at random to what is popular at the time it has nothing to do with what you search your such a moron stop cutting down a dude who is just making a statement

      November 9, 2011 at 12:09 | Report abuse |
  26. Dosome Research

    IQ is not constant. It changes both as we learn and as we age... i.e. all the time. The formula for IQ is mental age/chronological age x 100. Even this is not consistent as standards for mental age are themselves in a constant state of flux. Class dismissed.

    February 8, 2011 at 10:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Meh

      Anyone can look that stuff up on the interwebz

      February 8, 2011 at 12:42 | Report abuse |
  27. CollageProf


    February 8, 2011 at 10:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. anonymous

    How many of these kids came from lower income families in which they could only afford more "processed" type foods. Do you think that in turn might affect the type of education the parents could also afford? Sounds like a GREAT study

    February 8, 2011 at 11:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. ChocolateCentral

    This story is disheartening when you look at what many parents put in their children's school lunches and even at the processed foods offered at school cafeterias. The grocery aisles are full of processed food, much of it aimed at little children. Stick to fresh vegetable and fruits, unsweetened yogurt (add fresh fruit and nuts) and oatmeal, and whole grain pasta and bread. If you are going to give your children something sweet to eat, bake it yourself. You can try my chocolate chip banana bread recipe. My kids love it. It is a nutritious and healthy treat for the little ones.

    February 8, 2011 at 11:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jessica

      Dude, seriously... READ THE ARTICLE. It says that there's a weak correlation. WEAK. That means that it makes almost difference what you feed your kids. Take your sanctimonious chocolate chip banana bread and stuff it.

      Also... chocolate chip anything does not = "nutritious and healthy"

      February 8, 2011 at 13:49 | Report abuse |
  30. Ed

    This article didn't say how much their IQ was reduced by so I tracked back to the original article (Google: Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health) and found that the reduction is 1.67 points. That amount is statistically insignificant given the probable error in standard IQ tests. Why do you publish articles without doing your homework.

    "After adjustment, the ‘processed’ (high fat and sugar content) pattern of diet at 3 years of age was negatively associated with IQ assessed at 8.5 years of age—a 1 SD increase in dietary pattern score was associated with a 1.67 point decrease in IQ (95% CI −2.34 to −1.00; p<0.0001). The ‘health-conscious’ (salad, rice, pasta, fish, fruit) pattern at 8.5 years was positively associated with IQ: a 1 SD increase in pattern score led to a 1.20 point increase in IQ (95% CI 0.52 to 1.88; p=0.001)."

    February 8, 2011 at 12:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jessica

      It said it was a weak correlation. What more do you need?

      February 8, 2011 at 13:44 | Report abuse |
    • Kirstyloo

      It could be viewed a signficant that there wasn't a stronger more signficant difference. While a negative result isn't as interesting, it is a result.

      PS. Thanks for getting the paper! It really adds to the discussion.

      February 8, 2011 at 15:01 | Report abuse |
    • A scientist

      Actually, what you quoted demonstrates that the difference in fact is statistically significant. A p<0.0001 is highly significant. It is certainly true that for a single individual, a difference of 1.67 points would be meaningless relative to the error associated with the test. However, with sufficiently large sample sizes, even such a small change can be statistically meaningful.

      However, a whole different question is whether a difference 1.67 IQ points is enough that we should worry about it. On its own, it is probably not, but as we start to discover different things that affect IQ, these small difference could add up to quite large effects.

      February 8, 2011 at 15:54 | Report abuse |
  31. Laura

    I think genetics plays a much bigger role in the IQ of a child than diet. That being said, processed foods do wreak havoc on the entire body, abusing the organs non-stop, so I'm sure it does affect IQ somewhat.

    February 8, 2011 at 12:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Salt

    I have a feeling that IQ is directly related to parents involvement with the child. Eating bad foods can just as easily indicate that the parents are not actively involved with stimulating their childs mind. Bad food = lazying parenting. Making sure your child eats right can just as easily show that the parents are involved and concerned about their childs development. Food selection probably doesn't impact IQ.

    February 8, 2011 at 12:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Inupaaq

    What impact do Food PRESERVATIVES in processed food HAVE ?
    Since our Brains are Mostly "Lipid" – made of FAT – What 'effect' do Fat Preservatives have on Brain FUNCTION ?
    Do Fat PRESERVATIVES "PICKLE" (I.E., 'PRESERVE') brain Lipids ?
    'How' do Fat Preservatives AFFECT Cognitive Functions ?
    The impact of CHOLESTEROL – (READ "Energy" Drinks) – on the Body Systems SHOULD ALSO be Researched :
    CNN ran a Story in the Nineties (90's) :
    "Caffeine LEACHES CALCIUM [ Which EVERY Injury REQUIRES for Healing ANY Injury !] From the Body !"

    February 8, 2011 at 14:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Demara

    The parents who are ignorant enough to give their children all processed foods probably don't bother to really engage them, either. No wonder.

    February 8, 2011 at 14:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. M@!

    So that's why my friends' kid keeps pounding the square peg into the round hole!

    February 8, 2011 at 14:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. ieat

    if parents are lazy enough to give the kid only processed food, I will bet you anything that the kid also gets plenty of TV time and little activity or reading time. Bad diet, lack of exercise, lack of brain stimulating activity usually go hand in hand in families. If a mom or dad makes the extra effort to provide healthy food, they probably are the type who try to do what is right and good for the kid. Kids need plenty of nurturing in all areas!

    February 8, 2011 at 17:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. notation

    @scientist: Your comments are the most intelligent ones here-thank you for providing some sense on a board that frequently lacks any.

    February 8, 2011 at 22:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • A scientist

      Thank you, that's very kind. I'm not sure why I bother, since it seems like most readers have already made up their minds. However, I just find it so disheartening that the reflexive reaction on these boards to almost any scientific discovery is to assume that the scientists are wrong (and frequently that they are clueless). Even more depressing is that these comments generally come from people who clearly did not bother to read and/or understand the article. It seems to reflect a growing trend in this country to dismiss any scientific finding that does not conform to one's preformed beliefs.

      February 8, 2011 at 23:48 | Report abuse |
  38. percysmama

    Processed food is bad in every way. So now people know. Hey my family eats a very limited amount, it is hard to hide from, but hey fruit is a great healthy sweet snack and my kids love it. Yes kids will eat veggies, steamed or sauteed without all the sauce just a little salt or lemon. Cookies are not hard to make from good old ingredients you can pronounce. Start cooking people.

    February 9, 2011 at 00:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. hope

    I understand there was a study done, but really? You're trying to tell me that processed foods are going to lower a child's IQ? I get that processed foods aren't the best for your body, especially a developing child's body, but really? This seems like more of an excuse for parents who aren't working with their children at a young age to start getting them started learning. Just because a child is one or two does not mean you cannot start working with them and starting their education. This seems like an excuse for lazy parents who say they "don't have the time" to work with their children, or even play with them at a young age that is so important to development.

    February 9, 2011 at 09:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. sara woods

    what exactly are 'processed foods'? isn't everything processed in some way? the reason these alerts to help out in life don't work is because the wordage doesn't mean anything to regular people. the dumcoffs are thinking 'i don't eat that" i only eat fast food. and anyway is a hamburger good if it's cooked slow and bad if it's cooked fast? see what i mean?

    February 9, 2011 at 14:08 | Report abuse | Reply

    At Jessica thru Gary's comment; High I.Q.'s you report, but what do those "HIGH-CALIBER MENTAL GIANTS" do for a living? How about their children? As the father of 6&7 yr.olds. I can attest to diet low in processed crap+parental involvement to the nth degree=well-balanced children in behaviour and an imbedded quest for knowledge. Both my kids were a bit early, one a true premie. Now cuz loving/caring environment provided by MA/PA +Gfolks and friends (TAKES A VILLAGE) they are both excelling in age-appropriate athletics and testing into "Talented and Gifted Student"-program.

    February 9, 2011 at 14:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Sarah in Texas

    The problem with all of these studies is that people (including many researchers) do not understand the difference between a correlation and a cause/effect relationship. There is likely much more of a correlation between these findings than a cause and effect. Parents who don't take time to feed their children healthier meals (which are typically more time-consuming) are more likely to also be parents who don't take the time to stimulate their children's minds. Maybe they are busy, maybe they don't care, maybe they're bad parents – who knows – but the findings show a relationship, not a cause/effect.

    February 10, 2011 at 10:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. denise

    its up to parents to instill healthy eating habits to their kids at a young age. http://www.howtoeathealthey.info/ also has some great health food tips!

    February 14, 2011 at 02:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Jennifer

    At the end of the day, feeding children healthy meals that are as natural as possible is good practice. So how do we make that doable for busy families? Babyminding has some quick and easy meal ideas for kids – all are 30 minutes or less and kid-approved!

    February 15, 2011 at 07:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. oldfossil


    This is a study involving a million children at 803 New York public schools over 4 years. Although faulty claims have been made about this study (for example that removing sucrose and additives increased IQ by 14%), the link between junk food and impaired mental ability is proven.

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