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Fast Foods May Impair Children’s School Performance

Fast Foods May Impair Children’s School Performance

In Dude Where’s My Car, Ashton Kutcher has a run in with a drive-thru operator that seems to confirm what a study found: Eating fast food dulls the brain and affects how kids do in school.

An Ohio State University study looked at more than 11,000 kids from 5th to 8th grades and found the more fast foods the 5th graders ate the lower their test score gains in reading/literacy, mathematics and science three years later. (And this is when they’re supposed to gain a lot.) Eating fast food three or more times a week was associated with a whopping 20% smaller gain in test scores!

Overall, 10% of the kids said they ate fast food every day; 10 % ate it four to six times a week; and over 50% said they gobbled up fast food between one and three times weekly.

What is it about fast food that dumbs down kids? Research shows that diets high in fat and sugar have an immediate negative impact on memory building and learning. That one-two punch KOs neurotransmitters that the brain needs to think and form memories! Plus, nutritionally deprived fast foods lack iron and other nutrients that build brain strength, while trans fats -- used to fry foods – flat-out dull your brain power.

So, dodge the fast food at school and set a good example at home. Once they can see and taste the difference they’ll discover just how much more alert they are at play -- and school.

Medically reviewed in July 2018.

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