I twittered upon this article today talking about the association between processed food in early childhood and IQ. I find these kinds of articles particularly interesting because I see the difference between the diet my boys have in Brazil vs the US.
Now, I know we all have a "choice" in what we feed our kids. It's obvious that the 2 year olds aren't going to the fridge, popping a pizza in the microwave, and cracking open a cold Bud. We need to feed our kids good old fruits and veggies, salads (Bwahaha! Get that in my toddler), and such.
The article said:
"The results showed that a predominantly processed food diet at the age of 3 was associated with a lower IQ at the age of 8.5, but that a healthy diet — high in salad, fruit, vegetables, rice and pasta — was associated with a higher IQ at the age of 8.5. Dietary patterns between the ages of 4 and 7 had no impact on IQ."
Personally, my kids can consume an alarming amount of rice and pasta. It goes down like my red wine on a cold and stressful day. I like to top them with homemade black beans and BAM, you've got yourself something healthy-ish to eat.
The thing is, my options of convenient and affordable foods differ greatly from those in the states. Nothing microwaveable is affordable, not by my definition at least. And don't even get me started on the cardboard they call overpriced frozen veggies around here. Hell, the only reasonably priced canned food I can get is corn and peas.
And that is different enough.
Of course, I should mention how the normal Brazilian kid drinks Coke (and many other sodas) from a very early age. Everything, EVERYTHING, is available fried (in the amount of oil I use in 1 months time). But surprisingly, the obesity didn't really seem to jump until the "convinience" food arrived. Plus McDs and such.
Yet regardless of the fact that my kiddos are friends with the snacks that the Brazilians do love, they jump decently in weight after a visit to Grandma's house in the USA. Obviously, they get to snack more, as Grandma is a sucker when it comes to whines of kiddos, but overall they eat less.
At my house, my kids are little meal eaters in addition to 3 or so decent snacks. Of course, we have our good days and bad days and plenty of non-optimal sugars and fats are consumed. But in the US, they eat very little of their meals in comparison to here and still put on weight.
Since my children are lean but healthy boys, I enjoy the jump in weight. A little wiggle room for my active little wannabe crack babies. But it makes one ponder, what is it in the food there that is filling in their tiny tummies?
Of course, according to the studies, I don't have to worry about my 4 year old. He's as smart as he's going to get from food. We can just forgo the healthy items and lay on the sausage.
And that is what I love the most about these kinds of things. Of course it's great to know more about how our body works. It's awesome to reach out to parents and teach them a better way to feed their kids. But really, I doubt the woman using lard in her lasagna and serving it with boxed chicken nuggets is reading this and stressing that little Jr's IQ may be a couple of points lower than the annoying Hippies down the road.
I can't give any suggestions on how to do it, nor how to feed your kids. The only thing I can control is what I put down in front of mine. My philosophy on that is balance. Good food, fun snacks, healthy options, and a little McDonalds when Mommy is over being a cook for the day.