There’s no free lunch, Moms and Dads. That trip through the drive-thru may be easy and convenient, saving you the hassle of preparing dinner at home, but it is having lifetime implications for your children.
A study conducted by an academic at the University of London reports that children who consume more fast food grow up to have a lower IQ than those who regularly eat freshly-cooked meals.
4,000 Scottish children aged 3-5 years old were examined to compare the intelligence dampening effects of fast food consumption versus “from scratch” fare prepared with only fresh ingredients.
“It’s common sense that the type of food we eat will affect brain development, but previous research has only looked at the effects of specific food groups on children’s IQ rather than at generic types of meals.”
Higher fast food consumption by the children was linked with lower intelligence and this was even after adjustments for wealth and social status were taken into account.
The conclusions of this study confirm previous research which shows long lasting effects on IQ from a child’s diet. An Australian study from the University of Adelaide published in August 2012 showed that toddlers who consume junk food grow less smart as they get older. In that study, 7000 children were examined at the age of 6 months, 15 months, 2 years to examine their diet.
When the children were examined again at age 8, children who were consuming the most unhealthy food had IQs up to 2 points lower than children eating a wholesome diet.
Tips for Keeping Kids off Processed Food
How to keep your children from eating fast food and nutrient poor processed foods? Just don’t buy it or bring it into the house. If it’s not in the pantry, your kids won’t be eating it and neither will you. Simple as that.
Keep a few containers of healthy snacks like additive and MSG free jerky (here’s the one I buy) and nuts with you in the car for when the family is ravenous and tempted by the drive thru or other unhealthy snacks.
If your kids don’t want the healthy snacks and only are asking for junk food, they aren’t really hungry. It’s either boredom or emotional eating so just say no and wait until you get home to prepare them a decent meal.
For a crazy and extreme video clip of how I taught my kids to hate fast food, click here. Trust me, your kids will thank you later when they have an easier time with school and life in general as a result of your efforts!
If you have drawn a line in the sand about fast food at your house too and have tips to share, please tell us about it in the comments section!
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. Her work is dedicated to helping families effectively incorporate the principles of ancestral diets within the modern household. She is a sought after lecturer around the world for conferences, summits, and podcasts.
Her work has been covered by major media including USA Today, ABC, NBC, and many others.