A British study found a disturbing link between sweets consumption in childhood and violent behavior in adulthood. Although they could not yet explain the mechanism behind this relationship, researchers say that it is there.
The study, conducted at Cardiff University, involved 17,500 people and is the first to explore the relationship between diet followed in childhood and aggressive behavior in adulthood.
Results showed that children who, at the age of 10 years, ate sweets daily, had a significantly higher risk to suffer convictions for violence up to the age of 34 years.
69% of those who had such convictions had consumed sweets almost every day when they were kids, while only 42% of non-violent had a similar diet.
The relationship was significant even after removing other factors such as parents’ behavior, the area from which the participants came from, lack of education after the age of 16 years and owning a car.
So far, researchers have discovered an explanation of the link. One hypothesis suggests that children who are given sweets daily learn not to delay getting a reward, they get used to head straight off what they want, develop an impulsive behavior, and if they do not get what they want, easily lose themselves and assigns violent impulses.
An alternative explanation is that to aggressive, unruly and difficult children, parents give more sweets to calm them.
Finally, a third hypothesis suggests installing a dependent of certain additives present in sweets, which leads to aggressive behavior in adulthood.
The conclusions of the study have been criticized by Julian Hunt, communications director of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), but Professor Simon Moore, who led the project, said it is convinced that there was a relationship between high consumption of sweets in childhood and later aggressive comportment and that researchers efforts will focus on the discovery of this relationship mechanism.