Does Sugary Soda Make Violent Kids?
Published in an October 2011 online issue of Injury Prevention, the study included data collected during a survey of more than 1,800 students from Boston public schools. The survey took about 40 minutes to complete, and students were asked questions about their soda-drinking habits, instances of violent behavior, and whether or not they had carried a weapon during the past year.
Researchers controlled for factors such as BMI and alcohol consumption, but still found a significant trend of increased violence in heavy soda drinkers. For example, in students who consumed less than one soft drink per week, only 23 percent said they had carried a weapon. This behavior nearly doubled in teenagers, who drank five or more non-diet soft drinks per week: 43 percent of these kids reported carrying a weapon in the past year.
Similar results were found for violent behavior. Of the kids who gulped down the most soda, 59 percent reported violence toward peers, compared to only 35 percent of those who drank fewer soft drinks.
Researchers say this link doesn’t automatically mean soft drinks are directly causing violent behavior. But we know there are a number of reasons heavy soft drink consumption could lead to behavioral problems:
– Soft drinks are void of nutrition and fail to supply important vitamins, minerals and amino acids, which support both mental and physical health. When soft drinks make up a significant portion of anyone’s diet, deficiencies are inevitable. Depression, anger and violence are strongly linked to nutritional deficiencies.
– Diets high in refined sugar can also cause high blood sugar levels and hypoglycemic episodes, which profoundly impact our physical and psychological health. Hypoglycemic episodes often lead to angry and violent outbursts, and could be a direct cause of violence in children.
– Many soft drinks also contain caffeine, which can contribute to hypoglycemic episodes and can also provoke aggression by raising adrenaline levels.
– More indirectly, a diet high in sugary soft drinks may be a sign of poor parental guidance, increased television viewing, and other factors which combine to encourage violent behavior in teens.
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About the author:
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: