Students often wonder at a “get rich quick” scheme to improve their grades – surely there has to be a magical solution which would beat studying.
And well, it’s possible that one such solution does exist. A study suggests that individuals with higher IQs are more likely to be vegetarian – and cognitive ability is a valuable predictor for academic achievement.
But how is this possible? Well, the theory is that given that humans evolved as omnivores, vegetarianism would not be an evolutionarily viable diet, especially when considering resource scarcity and the need for energy-dense food options. As society evolved, less energy was required of individuals, making that the omnivorous diet was no longer a necessity. Enter the vegetarian diet – a novel lifestyle choice with no evolutionary benefits, which instead points towards the luxury of abundance, and being able to eat for more than just survival. As such, individuals with a higher IQ (which is also a predictor of higher income and a higher level of education) will be more likely to choose a vegetarian diet than individuals with low IQ: vegetarians have a mean childhood IQ of 109.1, and meat eaters have a mean childhood IQ of 100.9, a statistically significant difference.
The impact of diet on mood and cognitive performance is also an interesting factor to consider. A study evaluating a two-week restriction of meat, fish and poultry showed that the vegetarian group evaluated their mood as significantly better compared to their non-vegetarian counterparts, and a negative mood has been shown to have a significant negative effect on performance at school.
What does this mean for you? Well, if you haven’t already, it’s time to start considering vegetarianism as your new exam-time diet.
Anita Large, Group 8