5 Things You Won't Believe Are Making You Dumber

#2. Junk Food Ruins Your Brain


We all know that junk food is bad for our bodies, but you're probably smart enough to eat in moderation and exercise plenty afterward. Or at least you would be, if eating that stuff hadn't been knocking IQ points off your head since you were a kid.

Studies have found that the more junk food a kid eats at age 3, the likelier it'll be that he has a lower IQ at age 8. At the same time, kids who ate healthier at age 3 weren't just fitter later on, but also smarter (thus justifying any smugness they might display while beating up your dumb kids). For children with a diet rich in Cheetos and Taco Bell, this translates into poor social, cognitive and behavioral skills, all because they lacked the necessary fats, vitamins and minerals their young brains needed to develop properly.

This poor girl is literally eating herself into the short bus.

"But Cracked, I'm not a kid," you might be saying. "My brain is fully developed by now, I don't have to worry about food making me dumber. Screw kids!" Well, it turns out that's not true, and poor choice of words there, buddy. Researchers, in their constant effort to ruin everything you love, have found in another study that sugar is also making us stupid, whether we're kids or not.

This time they taught rats how to go through a maze, and then put those rats on a diet of either a sugary drink or water. Six weeks later, the rats who had been drinking sugar had much more difficulty completing the maze, and not just because it was harder for their fat asses to fit through the corridors. They were slower, their memories had been affected and their cognitive abilities had been pretty much shattered, simply because the prolonged sugar overdose had made their bodies more resistant to insulin (which doesn't just affect your blood sugar level, but also the way your brain cells work).

So wait, the Pepsi ad with the smart monkeys was BULLSHIT?!

The good news is that the researchers also found that foods with omega-3 fatty acids counteract the stupidity produced by the sugar. So instead of drinking that Coke on a hot summer day, just down a bottle of olive oil instead.

#1. Living in a City Makes You Dumber


If you're reading this, chances are you live in a city: As of 2008, most people in the world do. And while us asphalt dwellers love feeling superior to those dumb country folk, in reality they're the ones who should be making fun of us: It turns out that living in a city isn't just majorly stressing you out, it's also screwing up your intelligence.

Researchers believe they have proved that just living in modern cities is messing up our brains. They conducted an experiment that required half of the subjects to walk through a busy city and the other half to walk through a park. Afterward, the researchers performed some tests and found that those who had gone through the city had worse memory, poor attention and learning problems. And the most insane part? Even seeing pictures of a city brings out these symptoms.

Please don't stare at this too long before leaving a comment on this article.

The reason is actually pretty simple: Walking through a city is pretty taxing for your brain because your attention is divided by a shitload of things. Even if you don't realize it, your brain is keeping track of all the lights and sounds and smells and bums grabbing your privates, while at the same time trying to focus on putting one foot in front of the other and not getting run over by cars. After a while, your brain is so tired that you're left with memory problems and poor self-control. Researchers think this makes you more likely to buy things on impulse and indulge yourself by eating junk food (which, as we've discussed, doesn't really help you not get any dumber).

"Why'd I buy it? I ... I have no idea. I don't even remember going into a store."

Meanwhile, walking through or just looking at vegetation relaxes people and makes their brains work more efficiently -- and no, we're not talking about an empty meadow where there's literally nothing to distract you. Much like a city, the vegetation can grab your attention, but in a positive and brain-restoring way. In fact, researchers have found that the more diverse the vegetation, the more it helps you focus, improves your memory and generally makes you smarter. But there are also lots of bugs around places like that, so it's probably not worth it in the long run.

Find more from XJ on his blog. He would also appreciate any followers on his Twitter.

For more ways you aren't as smart as you think you are, check out 5 Logical Fallacies That Make You Wrong More Than You Think. Or allow Cracked to boost your IQ in The 10 Most Important Things They Didn't Teach You In School.

If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out The Sneaky Lie Your Apple Devices Are Telling You.

And stop by LinkSTORM to see how you can inject steroids directly into your brain matter.

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