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.
Dr. Sophie von Stumm of the Department of Psychology at the University of London said:
“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
There is a lady who commented on how to navigate the Easter, Halloween and other holidays that come at us, even us traditional foodies.
I have three kids, 13, 10 and 7 1/2 who have been eating a traditional food diet for the last 7 years and still have grandparents who will give them candy and white flour. Fortunately, they visit rarely and my influence has gotten them to give the kids dried fruit and other healthier snacks these days. In terms of the other stuff like Easter, Halloween and Valentine’s Day, they can participate, but I give them limits on what they eat, try to get rid of the rest (sneakily). Last Halloween, they had to give up 1/2 of their candy, they were allowed to have a few pieces and then, save the rest for later (downstairs in the basement). When my oldest son checked on the candy, he commented that they had to throw out the candy because it had gotten hard and was inedible. So, there was a lesson there. Recently, he commented that he avoids white flour and sugar, because it tends to make him tired. So, he is learning a lesson without me having to tell him.
We never eat at fast food places, and one in awhile, we will eat at a small eatery that makes food from scratch. Again, I explain why we don’t eat out and now that they are getting older, it is starting to make sense to them. Also, in regards to dental health, they have noticed that their friends and classmates have lots of gold crowns in their mouths and they do not. Again, by examples they do eventually learn. But once you as the parent set the guidelines and explain why you eat the way you do, the kids will learn these things by example and learning.
Reneé Stefan via Facebook
While I agree that fast food is a bad choice for growing children, I am not sure that such a small study over a short period of time carries much weight. It would be better if the children were followed into adulthood and if the children were classified by lifestyle from the very beginning – since we know children of better socioeconomic status already have an advantage.
Clementine Cuppen via Facebook
Maybe they had lower IQs to begin with. Really, your IQ level is what you are born with.
I would like to unsubscribe from your posts. Iwas not able to achieve success with the link at the bottom of the page, and you have no ‘contact’ button on your site. So, this is the only place I can make this request. Feel free to not post my comment. Thanx
Patricia Austin via Facebook
IF your kids are smart despite eating these foods, think about this…they MIGHT have been genious’ IF they had been given nutritious, wholesome foods!!
Donna Ruck via Facebook
So the parents who let them eat it