Is sugar the real culprit in teen violence?

Does soda pop make kids more violent? According to a recent study of Boston high school students, kids who had more than 5 sodas a day were 15% likelier to engage in aggressive behavior.  Researchers say they don’t know if it’s the sugar or, “a marker for other problems — that kids who are violent for whatever reason, they tend to smoke more, they tend to drink more alcohol and they tend to maybe drink more soft drinks.”

They also tend to be less supervised.  If a child has the freedom to drink more than five cans of soda pop a day, one has to wonder what other freedoms he or she is enjoying. When soda machines are banned in most schools, these kids must be buying them after school or pulling them out of the family refrigerator while they wait for mom and dad to come home.

In our PC culture, where researchers must tread lightly lest their findings contradict the prevailing liberal and secular cultural thought, it’s much safer to blame sugar (and those evil corporate beverage makers) than parents.  Definitely don’t report anything that might suggest that there are downsides to family arrangements where no one is home to greet or watch kids when they come home from school.  You are far more likely to receive more funding and positive reviews in the media if your research points to sugar as the culprit, rather than too many kids home alone and left to their own devices in the nutrition department.

Every year, millions of dollars are spent on fancy campaigns to educate kids and parents on nutrition, yet childhood obesity is growing, not declining.  The only things on the decline are discipline, moderation, manners, and respect for authority among our young people. Perhaps a more cost-effective answer to all these problems would be more family dinners and more parents around to say, “no” to a whole host of things, including sugary treats.



  • momof4

    One of my kids had a classmate who brought a 2-liter Mountain Dew to school every day and carried it from class to class until it was empty. He was an honors-AP student from a stable, 2-parent family, but I don’t know if he bought it on the way to school, if it was from home, or if his parents knew he was drinking it. Certainly, he never was in any trouble.

    • Rod

      As with everything else, I’m sure there are exceptions. I knew two people with “unhealthy” habits with soda. One of them I met in the military and when we would deploy, the “psht” of his Diet Coke woke me up every morning. Before breakfast, before brushing teeth, before getting out of the cot, he opened a room temperature diet Coke and took a swig. The second guy I worked with. He walked around with a 2-liter bottle of Jolt Cola all day. Both of these individuals were smart, hard working, and appeared to be totally stable. But I found their love of soda a bit odd.

  • James

    Cause and effect is missing. It’s more likely that kids that have good parents don’t let them drink soda and therefore they aren’t a violent. Kids that are allowed to drink soda pop all week are probably from families that don’t care what they do.

    • Rod

      Exactly, James. What kind of parent would let a child drink 5 sodas a day? A parent who doesn’t care or isn’t around enough to notice they’re drinking 5 sodas a day, that’s who!

      • Brian C

        Now I don’t feel as bad for (sometimes) letting my kids drink one soda a day. I love Dr. Pepper, and I don’t think I could drink 5 a day if I wanted to!

  • Mike

    Until we address the growing problems of food deserts in impoverished portions of cities, this problem will only continue to worsen.

  • Lisa Legaspi

    nail. head.

    • Francine

      Except there is only high fructose corn syrup in soda (at least in the US), not sugar. Is this a scientific study?

      • Greg Smith

        Francine ~ Sugar was only mentioned by the writer for that paragon of responsible journalism, the New York Daily News and in this post’s headline, not, it seems, the study itself. Yeah.. unless one is a soldier in the fundamentalist war on science, it was scientific study. Harvard and peer reviewed by a British journal. ~ ~ Greg



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