Are Vegan Children Smarter?

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic /

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / 

I had a discussion with a friend recently where I told him that I thought I remembered reading a study that vegan and vegetarian kids perform better in school. He countered that it was a moot point because these kids were being raised by vegetarian or vegan parents who likely had higher IQs. His point was that vegans and vegetarians take more time to be educated about what they are putting in their bodies compared to the average Joe/Josephine and therefore their children would likely be more intelligent than their counterparts.

Ultimately neither of us really had any idea what we were talking about, but I was intrigued to get to the bottom of it, and so I did some research. And what I found out?

Basically I was right… (was there any doubt?); but he was also right (crap).

Let’s start off with his point, that vegetarians and vegans are generally smarter. This is true, but unfortunately cutting out the meat won’t make you an Einstein (who was a vegetarian by the way). Rather, if you are a vegan or vegetarian you are more likely an educated person with a higher IQ. As proven by this study or this one. Which, again to my friend’s point, makes sense. If you are examining your choices and learning about the effects of your diet, which then results in you making changes to your lifestyle, you are likely an engaged and intelligent person.

That’s not to say that being a herbivore can’t make you more intelligent. If you’re eating ‘superfoods’ like kale and blueberries, you’re fueling and feeding your brain.

Therefore, intelligent people will likely have intelligent children since those traits are inheritable. Not only that, but they make good friends since vegans and vegetarians are generally more empathetic.

But here’s where studies show that not only is my friend right but I am right (the moment we’ve all be waiting for). Vegans and vegetarians are generally healthier and more active than the average bear…I mean person. And active parents have healthier and more active children. Finally, active children do better in school.

In summary, if you have a higher IQ than average, you are more likely than a person with an average IQ to be vegan or vegetarian. It also means that your offspring will likely be intelligent. Being a vegan or vegetarian means that you are likely to be healthy and active which means that your children likely will be too. Finally, if your children are active, that also means that they will do better in school.

What it all really means is that I was right.*

*But so was my friend.

About the Author:

Lindsay is a vegan in Vancouver who spends her time cooking, drinking soy lattes, and writing about our relationship with animals.
  • Clara

    I think you’re probably right that people who are vegan or vegetarian tend to be more educated. I think in part that’s because a) with higher education comes discussions and study of philosophy, ethics, morals, etc. and animals factor into that, as well as health education; and b) higher educated people also tend to have higher paying jobs and live in areas where they have access to healthier foods.

    “As proven by this study or this one.” — I’m not crazy about your use of the word “proven,” since neither study proves anything. There are correlations, relationships between the factors. No proof, just support. I think it’s important to acknowledge that.

    But yeah, I can totally see how the children of veg parents would do better in school.

    Fun article! Thanks for sharing.

  • SBurton

    Of note, the British Medical Journal article you quote to support your hypothesis found that vegans had an IQ 5 points lower than average. Only vegetarians had an IQ which was higher.

  • Gabriel E Hackney

    I tried and ate plenty of protein but gave into defeat. My body wasn’t able to digest the protein in plants as easily. It wasn’t meat. I could barely think, barely move, and during the time I looked twenty years older than I was. My alertness was in a fuzz.

    I am forced to eat meat because of my bodies design. Bottom line. We have equal rights in equality, but we are not equal in creation. I may be more primal in construction, but not in compassion for life in all kingdoms of life. That is as important as the womb from which we came from, for life is just that. Life, and who is to say what’s more important because one specious has a frontal lobe and the other doesn’t. Animals are consumption. Let’s not be presumptuous.

    When I ate meat again I could feel the protein rush to my brain. I felt sane. It surged throughout me as it tingled my skin, reawakening me from the inside to be alive again. The life breathed back into me. Please understand. Please see. It was painful at first from the shock to me system, but after that the pain went away, and I felt alive as day. My muscles tripled in size, and I could not believe my eyes when I say this happen throughout my body. I realized that they were shriveled and weakened. Do doubt me. They sucked it up like a dry sponge in water. I was chilled and became hotter.

    It’s sad, but don’t judge me. Don’t feel sorry for me. I’m glad for who I am, because I’m more aware about the environment. I’m more compassionate and understanding than many because I crave intelligence. That’s my reality I must witness, but there are others who share the same reality with a lack of meat as a sickness. Omnivores are not herbivores, nor are they carnivores. Let’s not be ridiculous. Humans need balance for the bodies allowance. We may use other ways to live, but killing cows to sustain my life is better than death’s doors of self destruction. I refuse to fade away with ignorant reduction. If you had my bones, my brain, and my blood then you would understand my construction. It’s not fair, but at least I’m still breathing air. Please share.

  • Jenny

    Um you realize both the studies you quoted are the same one? And on top of that it does say vegetarians have an IQ 5 points higher on average. But that vegans have an IQ 10 points lower than vegetarians. Or 5 points lower than the average population.

  • robert hingston