A spoonful of sugar may indeed make the medicine go down but it can also turn you into a psychotic drug addict as well, according to a new study.
The Daily Mail reports that sweet-toothed children who are allowed to excessively indulge in sugary products are more prone to violent outbursts and other unsavory pastimes such as drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes.
The statistics show that British children are more than twice as likely to fight if they consume a lot of sugar, and in Sweden, Sugar makes children three-and-a-half times likely to participate in bullying behavior.
Energy drinks were considered the worst offenders because of their high concentration of caffeine and other chemicals.
Statistically speaking children who costume high-levels of sugar are also 95 percent more likely to get drunk.
The research was conducted by Israel’s Bar-Ilan University. Scientists studied a total of 137, 284 children from the 11, 13, and 15 age-groups.
The study is breaking new ground as it is believed to be the first to monitor how sugar consumption translates into violence and substance abuse in minors.
The scientists monitored the children to see how those who consumed a lot of sugar compared to those with a moderate intake.
They found “strong and consistent relationships” between eating or drinking high volumes of sugar and engaging in negative patterns of behavior such as bullying other children, participating in fights, smoking cigarettes and binge-drinking alcohol.
Information for the study was collected on children from Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.
Results from the study published in the journal Social Science and Medicine suggest that Swedish children are more prone to the toxic influence of sugar than any of the other named countries.
In the UK it was discovered that those with a diet revolving around an abundance of sweets, chocolates, and energy drinks were 72 percent more likely to drink alcohol and 89 percent more likely to smoke.
The study does not give guidelines as to how much sugar is healthy for a child but an expert medical opinion suggests that anything over 30 grams of added sugar per day is too much for a child. To put that in perspective a single can of Coca-Cola contains 35 grams of sugar.
The authors of the study were particularly damning of energy drinks and wrote, “The relationship between sugary drinks and involvement in substance use and peer violence is stronger than that with sweets and chocolate.
“Since sugary drinks also often contain many additives, including caffeine, it is possible that sugar in combination with some additives contained in soft drinks makes soft drinks a more powerful or consistent predictor.”
The scientists warned that economic factors have no bearing on a child’s sugar intake. Sugar does not discern between rich and poor. They also stressed that a child who consumes a lot of sugar should be a “red flag” for teachers or youth workers because it is a proven indicator that they will develop emotional and other problems when they’re teenagers.