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Fast Food Impairs Teen Cognition

Update Date: Sep 26, 2014 06:54 PM EDT
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Eating junk food rots your brain, according to new research.

A new study revealed that 17-year-olds who ate more western foods growing up scored lower than those who ate less on cognitive tests.

Researchers said the findings suggest that consuming more junk foods like burgers, fries and sodas can seriously impair reaction time, intellect, attention, learning and memory.

However, consuming more fruits and veggies helped boost cognitive ability. The study revealed that teens who consumed more fruits and leafy green vegetables were significantly more likely to score higher on cognitive tests.

Researcher Dr. Anett Nyaradi noted that previous studies show that high intake of saturated fat and simple carbohydrates impairs the performance of the hippocampus, which is essential to learning and memory that boosts its volume during adolescence, according to Daily Mail.

"Adolescence represents a critical time period for brain development. It is possible that poor diet is a significant risk factor during this period...indeed, our findings support this proposition," Nyardi told Science Network. "These findings have important implications for future health policies and health promotion programs."

The study involved 602 participants from the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort Study, and each participant were asked to fill out a food frequency questionnaire.

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