Changes in Learning Outcomes after Dietary Intervention in Preschoolers: A Pilot Study

Faten Hasan, Jamie Jirout, Sarah Garzione, Sibylle Kranz
2021 Nutrients  
The executive functioning skill set, which includes working memory, cognitive flexibility, and inhibitory control, begins developing in early life and continues into adulthood. Preschoolers' abilities to perform those skills may be influenced by diet. The purpose of this study was to explore the acute effects of consuming a low-GI diet compared to the usual childcare diet on preschoolers' self-reported feelings of hunger and fullness and their performance on learning-associated tasks. This
more » ... ed tasks. This study was a prospective feeding trial in n = 20 children 3–4 years of age, completed in a laboratory setting where children attended "day camps" and consumed two days of usual diet (CON) and two days of low-GI (INT) diet. Learning outcomes were evaluated using select learning assessments including the Kansas Reflection-Impulsivity Scale for Preschoolers (KRISP), Track-it, Peg Tapping, and Happy/Sad. Repeated measures, full-factorial analysis of covariance revealed that diet was significantly related to impulsivity (p > 0.05), and univariate analysis of variance indicated that feelings of hunger and fullness differentially affected cognitive constructs in that feeling full improved impulsivity and attention, while feeling hungry improved inhibitory control. These findings highlight that the connection between diet and learning-related skills of children are independently mediated by both diet composition and feelings of hunger and fullness.
doi:10.3390/nu13061797 pmid:34070396 fatcat:cshnal5d6jcavmy6yfjwgamq4y