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Study says sugar increases aggression, smoking, and alcohol abuse

Study says sugar increases aggression, smoking, and alcohol abuse

  • October 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske

Children who eat and drink products containing too much sugar are more likely to be aggressive, to smoke, and consume alcohol to excess, according to a new study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine.

Scientists at the Bar Ilan University in Israel evaluated 137,284 children aged 11, 13, or 15 years, who lived in Canada or 25 European countries, including the UK. The researchers looked at the amount of sugar the children consumed and compared it with how often they bullied other children, engaged in fights, drank alcoholic beverages, and got drunk. They found ‘strong and consistent relationships’ between high sugar consumption and the other behaviours.

In the UK, children who consumed large amounts of energy drinks, chocolate, and other sweets were 72% more likely to drink alcoholic beverages and 89% more likely to smoke. Also, they had a 69% chance of engaging in bullying behaviour and were 2.13 times more likely to be involved in fights.

The researchers also said that the consumption of energy drinks was more likely to cause the deterioration of the children’s behaviour than were sweets and chocolate because they had many additives, including caffeine. According to the study, the wealth of the children’s family did not affect the correlation between the children’s sugar consumption and their behaviour patterns in most cases. It is believed that the study is the first to investigate the effects of sugar on substance abuse and violent behaviour in children.


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