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Are vegans at risk for lower IQ?

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Protein restriction -- consuming no more than the minimum daily requirement for protein -- seems to be essential for effective calorie restriction. But CR practitioners need to think twice before assuming that veganism would be a good way of practicing a protein restrictive diet, for reasons explained in this article, the heading and sub-head of which read

How a vegan diet could affect your intelligence.The vegan diet is low in – or, in some cases, entirely devoid of – several important brain nutrients. Could these shortcomings be affecting vegans' abilities to think?

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Well, according to Betteridge's law of headlinesany headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no. This one is no exception. I took a brief look and there are bizarre claims like vegans having problem with vitamin B6 intake (it's very common in plant foods) and they illustrate it with the potato as an example. Elsewhere they claim after some study that iron supplementation boosted 5-7 fold cognitive performance (misleading at best, whatever it means*). They cite German Society for Nutrition (whose opinion on vegan diet is somewhat negative), but don't mention that most such associations find vegan diet perfectly adequate. Etc., etc.

They rise some good points though with B12 and some nutrients that are lacking in not supplemented vegan diet, so there's that. The obvious solution is to supplement if you fear that it may be important (B12 is important, creatine, carnosine, taurine, etc. are arguably not that important). That said I don't think that this article should rise any concerns in people following a CRON diet.

* It seems that in the study the z-score was 5-7 fold greater at the end of the intervention, but z-score measures how far you are from the mean of the population, with 0 meaning no distance from the mean. What if participants started at "the wrong side of the mean"? The factor would be negative? 😄

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I personally feel alot smarter after a juicy hamburger or steak.  Anyone else?? 

;-)

 

Edited by Clinton

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The article is more than a little sensationalist.  

IMO, there are two points that are either hinted at or obsessed in the article, that I would make:

(1) Children and teens should not be on heavy CR or veganism; it might hurt brain development.

(2) All health conscious individuals -- CRONnies, vegans, etc -- should be sure that they are getting all the nutrients that they need.  (E.g., B12 supplemtation for vegans). Tools like cronometer and bloodwork are hepful.

  --  Saul 

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Oh, boy.... This nonsense rears its head periodically and it often rides on industry-sponsored studies (I don't have time to look more carefully at the study, but will at some point).

Poor nutrition, especially during childhood, may correspond with lower IQ. But so it goes for those who live on KFC, as well as those who live on French fries.

Here is another study to ponder (note that IQ generally stays the same after the age of 10 or so):

IQ in childhood and vegetarianism in adulthood: 1970 British cohort study

"Higher IQ at age 10 years was associated with an increased likelihood of being vegetarian at age 30 (odds ratio for one standard deviation increase in childhood IQ score 1.38, 95% confidence interval 1.24 to 1.53). IQ remained a statistically significant predictor of being vegetarian as an adult after adjustment for social class (both in childhood and currently), academic or vocational qualifications, and sex (1.20, 1.06 to 1.36)."

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No surprise.  I'd expect a positive correlation between intelligence and health consciousness

6 hours ago, Ron Put said:

Poor nutrition, especially during childhood, may correspond with lower IQ. But so it goes for those who live on KFC, as well as those who live on French fries.

 My guess:  Junk food, with adequate nutrition, in childhood might not have a negative effect in adulthood -- as long as the individual in question improves their diet during teens or twenties.

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On 2/25/2020 at 2:44 PM, Saul said:

No surprise.  I'd expect a positive correlation between intelligence and health consciousness

 My guess:  Junk food, with adequate nutrition, in childhood might not have a negative effect in adulthood -- as long as the individual in question improves their diet during teens or twenties.

You are probably right, Saul.

But IQ is largely heritable and parents who feed their offspring mostly junk food are probably less likely to be of the higher IQ variety, so....

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Sometimes, but not always.  I know  a lot of very brilliant people.  Almost everyone I know at the University of Rochester eats tons of meat, potatoes, breads and sugar.  When I go to a department dinner, I'm usually the only one eating decent food.

  --  Saul

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