Something most parents know intuitively already. Still, more reason to replace those sugary snacks and drinks! -
Got a surly teenager? You might want to monitor his or her soda consumption. A new study in the journal Injury Prevention, published by the British Medical Journal Group, found that drinking more than five cans of regular soda per week made high schoolers more aggressive.
Researchers asked 1,878 students who attended public high schools in Boston about their consumption of regular (non-diet) soft drinks and various behaviors. Nearly 30 percent of the students said they drank more than five cans per week, and those kids were significantly more likely to have carried a weapon and to have been violent with schoolmates, family members, and girl- or boyfriends than less-frequent or non-soda drinkers. Drinking five cans or more was also associated with a 9 to 15 percent increase in the chance a student would engage in such behavior.
The researchers were investigating something called the “Twinkie Defense,” a psychological theory developed in the early 1980s after the lawyer of a notorious criminal defended his client on the grounds that junk food lowers glucose, which in turn causes hypoglycemia, a condition that has been linked repeatedly to aggressive behavior. Studies have shown that 90 percent of juvenile delinquents taken into custody have below-average glucose levels, and others have linked hypoglycemia to traffic violations, public profanity, shoplifting, destruction of property, exhibitionism, public masturbation, embezzlement, arson, spousal abuse, and child abuse.