Fast food brain drain – UK's takeaway culture under fire as mental health concerns rise
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But behind the tantalizing aromas lies a potential threat to the nation's cognitive well-being. Profound new research points to a startling link between our fast-food habits and a worrying decline in brain health.
Brain health scientist Prof Michael Crawford paints a grim picture in his latest work, The Shrinking Brain, where he reveals a significant reduction in human brain size over recent years.
Backing up his claim, studies from around the globe, including one spearheaded by Norwegian researcher Ole Rogeberg, signal a steady drop in IQ scores and a rise in mental health issues – trends mirrored in countries like Denmark, Britain, France, and several others.
The culprit, according to these studies? A seismic dietary shift away from essential fats towards a carb and sugar-heavy regime, spurred by outdated beliefs about diet and heart disease.
This nutritional misstep, they argue, could be costing us not just our physical health but our very intelligence, with an average seven percent drop in IQ per generation.
Prof Crawford's stance is unequivocal: our brains evolved on a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, the kind found in abundance in aquatic environments. Today's fast-food staples are dangerously devoid of such nutrients, which were instrumental in our cerebral development.
Thomas Riley, an expert in the field of nootropics at Nootroedge, who weighs in with a crucial perspective. "What we're seeing is a disconnect between our evolutionary dietary needs and the modern-day food landscape," Riley explains. "Nootropics can certainly play a role in enhancing cognitive function, but they can't replace the fundamental building blocks of brain health."
Riley points to the UK's love of fast food – donner kebabs dripping with fats, pizzas loaded with processed ingredients, and fried chicken bathed in hydrogenated oils – as a significant part of the problem.
"These foods may offer convenience and comfort," he says, "but they're not providing the nutrition our brains need. It's like fueling a high-performance car with the wrong kind of petrol."