According to the findings of a study conducted by researchers in Britain, fatty, sugary and processed foods may lead to a lowering of children's IQ, while a diet that is rich in nutrients and vitamins may boost it.
The findings of the study - published online in the February 7 edition of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health - were based on the data collected from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children on 3,966 children born in 1991 and 1992.
The study chiefly monitored the diet of kids at different ages - 3 years, 4 years, 7 years and 8-1/2 years - and measured their IQs using the standard Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children.
It was found that the under-4 children eating a diet comprising processed food, fat and sugar had lower brain power at eight-and-a-half years. Superficially, their IQ dropped by 1.67 for every increase on a chart that showed the amount of processed fat they consumed.
Moreover, the study also found that the damage that processed fat caused to the children's IQ levels was irreversible; as the diet at the ages of four and seven brought about no change in their earlier IQ scores.
Noting that "a healthy diet may be associated with higher IQ," and that good nutrition during childhood "may encourage optimal brain growth," Kate Northstone, who led the research at Bristol University, said: "Further research is required to help determine the true effects of early diet on intelligence."