Originally published October 12 2014
Beyond obesity: Western diet shown to make people stupid
by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
(NaturalNews) Eating junk food doesn't just make you fat -- it also makes you stupid. Researchers from Australia came to this conclusion after evaluating the dietary habits of young teenagers as part of a large study, determining that those who consume a high amount of soft drinks, fried foods and other processed garbage perform worse mentally.
The University of Western Australia study looked at more than 600 kids who participated in the larger Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study. Each of the participants, age 14 at the time, was asked to fill out a questionnaire about food frequency. Three years later, he or she was given a series of cognitive tasks to perform that evaluated performance compared to all the other children.
It was observed that children with higher consumption of takeout foods, processed meats, soft drinks and other refined and sugar-laden fare had decreased psychomotor function, impaired reaction time and problems focusing visually. Junk food eaters also had trouble learning and remembering things compared to those who ate more fruits and leafy green vegetables.
More micronutrients means a healthier brain Junk foods, as most of our readers already know, lack the essential micronutrients and trace minerals typically found in whole foods. It is this general nutrient deficiency, says Dr. Anett Nyaradi, that more than likely causes junk food eaters to struggle cognitively.
Leafy green vegetables, for instance, are loaded with vitamins like folate, which has been linked to enhanced cognitive development. Whole, plant-based foods also tend to have a more balanced ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which is extremely important for brain development. Junk foods typically contain excessive amounts of omega-6, and very little omega-3.
"Metabolic pathways function best with a balanced 1:1 ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, but the Western diet can shift this to a 1:20 or 1:25 ratio," reads a study summary published by Western Australia's ScienceNetwork.
Developing children require proper nutrition for healthy brains Unlike earlier nutrition studies, Dr. Nyaradi's research looked at the health effects of comprehensive junk food consumption, not just isolated ingredients or nutrients. This holistic approach, she says, proves all the more how important it is for developing children to consume full-spectrum nutrition from whole, as opposed to processed, foods.
"Adolescence represents a critical time period for brain development," she stated. "It is possible that poor diet is a significant risk factor during this period... indeed, our findings support this proposition."
A free abstract of Dr. Nyaradi's study is available here:
As far as omega-3s are concerned, children should be consuming plenty of foods and oils rich in this important brain nutrient. These include pastured meats and grass-fed butter, cod liver oil, skate liver oil, butter oil and hemp oil. The hemp and chia seeds are also highly beneficial brain foods rich in omega-3s.
More about how to properly nourish your children to support excellent learning, improved behavior and optimal physical health can be found in the Nourishing Our Children video series, available through Natural News:
"The saying 'you are what you eat' has a ring of truth to it," wrote one Daily Mail commenter. "If we take in poor sources of food, yes we will gain the macronutrients needed for energy, but we will not gain the micronutrients needed for growth and repair of cells."
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