Soda Totally Turns Teens Into Killers

Turns out soda isn't just bad for your teeth: if you're a teenager, it could make you more likely to knife someone.

The Washington Post reports on a new study of 1,878 Boston teens. Researchers found that kids who drank lots of soda also were more likely to smoke and drink alcohol. But even controlling for those factors, they were also more violent. Forty-three percent of kids who drink 14 or more cans of soda per week also carried a gun or a knife; just 23% of those who drank zero or no sodas were packing. Twenty-seven percent of the high soda consumers had committed violence against a partner, and 58% had been violent to a peer; for kids who drink little or no soda, the figures were 15% and 35%, respectively. The study authors write,

There was a significant and strong association between soft drinks and violence. There may be a direct cause-and-effect relationship, perhaps due to the sugar or caffeine content of soft drinks, or there may be other factors, unaccounted for in our analyses, that cause both high soft drink consumption and aggression.

It's possible that kids who drink lots of soda also have uninvolved parents who are monitoring neither their diet nor their weapon possession. The researchers did control for "having family dinners," but not for other measures of involvement. They also didn't appear to control for socioeconomic status, which could be another confounding factor. So we might want to wait for more research before we definitively add "knife fights" to the list of bad things soda causes. On the other hand, if you're feeling particularly enraged lately, it might be a good idea to lay off the sauce.

Soda Boosts Violence Among Teens, Study Finds [Washington Post]

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