Does Being a Vegetarian Make You Smarter?

Mensa gag t-shirt humor - I'm with stupidThe benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle are numerous and range from decreased risk for heart disease to lower cholesterol to more money in your pocket. But can going meat-free really boost your intelligence?

A study conducted at the University of Southampton recently linked vegetarianism to a high IQ. However, the proverbial chicken seems to come before the tofu in this case.

The study, conducted over a period of 20 years, began by assessing the intelligence of 8179 people in the UK at age 10. The researchers then continued to measure the IQ scores of participants at various ages and checked as to whether they consumed meat and other animal products at age 30.

What the researchers found was that individuals who adopted a vegetarian lifestyle had significantly higher IQs at age 10, even after accounting for level of education and socioeconomic status.

Dr. Catherine Gale, one of the researchers on the study, suggested that the reason for these differences may be that more intelligent children think more about what they eat. Perhaps they are more likely to consider the ethical and economic issues at hand.

Satoshi Kanazaka, an evolutionary psychologist hailing from the London School of Economics, proposes that vegetarianism is a luxury or “novel value.”  He says that a meat-free diet only exists in our society because we have overcome to the issue of lack of food that plagued our ancestors. He suggests that the most intelligent among us will be more likely to assume these “novel values,” like vegetarianism.

Researchers are still discerning what the connection is between vegetarianism and intelligence. But the bottom line is that it’s unlikely forgoing that burger will make you any smarter.

[box type=”info”]While boosting you IQ may not be a possibility, there are plenty of other good and bad reasons for going vegetarian. Be sure to consult with a doctor or nutritionist to see if it’s right for you.[/box]

Ashley Solomon, Psy.D

I am a therapist who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, body image, trauma, and serious mental illness. Visit Dr. Solomon's body image blog,

5 thoughts on “Does Being a Vegetarian Make You Smarter?

  • October 28, 2010 at 7:52 am

    Does being vegetarian make you smarter?

    I am insultd by these postt. I eats lots of meatz food and my momm says that I is plenty smart.

    I thinks that vegematarians are dumb.

    • January 26, 2012 at 8:25 am

      “I am insultd by these postt. I eats lots of meatz food and my momm says that I is plenty smart”

      (watch your grammar dude before you say such things like you are smart .)

      • March 5, 2013 at 5:19 pm

        He’s obviously being sarcastic wtf

  • October 27, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Interesting! Well, it’s never too late to make a smart choice! If you are wanting to experiment with a veggie diet, even for a little while here’s some quick and easy ideas on making a plant based diet fun!

  • October 27, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Interesting post Ashley. Often vegetarians seem to be more committed to eating healthy and maybe that is why the results came out as they did. With all the talk of what is fed to livestock; I must say I am definitely eating far less meat these days! Thanks for sharing this information.
    Patricia Perth Australia


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *