Is Intelligence Linked to Vegetarianism?


That’s what a British research group wanted to find out.  And, according to the results of their new study published in the British Medical Journal, there may be a connection. “Higher scores for IQ in childhood are associated with an increased likelihood of being a vegetarian as an adult,” the researchers conclude.

As reported by – a popular online health resource for parents and children – the British researchers followed up with 8,170 men and women at the age of 30 whose IQs had been documented in a study at the age of 10.  Of those, 4.5 percent (or 366) reported that they are now adult vegetarians.  This number includes individuals who eat chicken or fish but no red meat.

The study found that the vegetarians were more likely to have scored higher on intelligence tests as children that the meat-eaters.  The vegetarians also tended to be better educated or have higher career qualifications.  The fact that intelligent kids decided to forgo meat (or at least beef) as grown-ups might help explain the link between childhood smarts and a reduced risk of coronary heart disease as adults, the study suggests.  No data was collected on how long the study participants have been vegetarians.

According to experts, regardless of whether or not being vegetarian makes kids smarter – or whether or not smarter kids become vegetarians – a balanced, nutritious vegetarian diet rich in fruits and veggies, they say, is naturally high in fiber and low in fat, a combination that lowers cholesterol and makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight.

By Cathy Ashby