It’s no secret that a healthy diet has a positive effect on many aspects of our lives, be it health or physical condition, mood, learning ability, and more. There is also no doubt that care about what lands on our plates is important at all ages.
Interesting conclusions were drawn by epidemiologists from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. According to them, regular consumption of margarine can contribute to a decrease in intelligence among children.
Fats affect our intelligence
As already mentioned, a healthy diet is conducive to our well-being, productivity at work or study. People who care about choosing healthy fats are also smarter. The more polyunsaturated fatty acids, the higher IQ you can have. In particular, fatty acids from fish deserve attention. Please note that already pregnant women are advised to supplement omega 3 fatty acids so that their child develops well. Not just physically.
These scientists wanted to study the effect of diet on intelligence and watched for seven years a group of newly born children (from birth to the age of seven). Before the start of the study, special IQ tests were performed to have a point of attachment and to be able to compare the results later.
The effect of various meals was studied, their composition was changed, however, whenever margarine was present, children significantly decreased IQ levels in tests. The results improved slightly when the diet was supplemented with healthy fats, e.g. by fish. However, after removing it from the menu, again margarine began to negatively affect children’s intelligence.
Scientists, through various product combinations, several years of observation and tests, indicate margarine as the most influential factor in these studies. They suspect that trans fatty acids so reduce the intelligence of children, and they are a component of margarine.
What are trans fatty acids?
In unsaturated fatty acids, there is a minimum of one double bond between carbon molecules. Depending on the configuration, cis and trans bonding are distinguished. In nature, we usually deal with yew type bonds, but some products from ruminant animals, e.g. cows, sheep – their milk and meat, are a natural source of trans fatty acids. They are also contained in partially hardened fats formed during the industrial hardening of vegetable oils. Trans fats have a higher melting point and can take a solid form, hence they are suitable for products such as margarine.
Which products are the source of trans fat? These are primarily low-quality confectionery and sweets, such as cookies, chocolate snacks, candies, crackers and others, for which hardened vegetable oils were used. Fast food can also contain a large amount.
A healthy diet is a basis for people of all ages. For children, it is especially important because they develop and need as much nutritional value as possible. It is therefore worth paying attention to the type of fat we give them to sandwiches or as a snack. Perhaps in the future it will bring positive effects, including in science.