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Sugar and Crime

October 16th, 2007 · No Comments

Professor Stephen Schoenthaler, PhD, began researching the relationship between nutrition and crime in 1980. He reported that institutional violence in Virginia had been cut in half after reducing the amount of sugar in the diet at no cost. By 1985, his research teams had successfully replicated such behavioral changes in 817 institutions in New York City, Los Angeles, and other locations within Virginia, Alabama, and California. These results included a 16 percentile improvement in English and Math scores among 1.1 million New York City schoolchildren and 48% reduction in juvenile violence among over 7,000 confined teenagers. Many of these childrens daily caloric intakes were over 25% sucrose, two and a half times above the World Health Organizations upper safety limit.

In 1985, Professor Schoenthaler’s teams discovered a link between high sugar intake and low vitamin and intake in juvenile and adult correctional facilities in New York, Florida, Oklahoma, and California. It appeared that a high sugar diet was displacing essential nutrients for good health. Even more startling, Professor Schoenthaler reported that low vitamin and mineral intake was linked with institutional violence. In fact, low intake was a better predictor of institutional violence than violence before incarceration.

In 1986, Professor Schoenthaler suspected that the reason why behavior improved on a low sugar diet was due to the increase in vitamins and minerals. To test this theory, his research teams gave vitamin-mineral supplements daily to confined offenders in Oklahoma and California and violence suddenly dropped in each facility between 37 and 43%. He realized that tablets and diet changes might be producing behavior changes due to psychological effects, the expectation that things might improve or the extra attention.

So in 1987, Professor Schoenthaler’s research team at California State University, Stanislaus decided to do a make-or-break test of the theory by conducting a randomized, controlled trial, the only type of research design the scientific community accepts as definitive. Confined Oklahoma teenage offenders were either given a course of vitamin-mineral tablets or fake dummy pills called placebos for three months and behavior, before and after, was measured using the institutions records of disciplinary actions. The results were clear cut. Offenders given supplements behaved significantly better than offenders given placebos. Among offenders with low initial concentrations of vitamins in their blood who were given vitamin-mineral tablets, violence fell over 90%.

Between 1988 and 2003, Professor Schoenthaler’s research teams, associated with the Dietary Research Foundation, did a number of additional randomized controlled trials in elementary schools, high schools, and adult correctional facilities with each producing similar results. It was possible to cut institutional violence in half by improving vitamin-mineral intake to normal. It was also possible to make academic performance soar and violence in schools to almost disappear. (See: dietresearch.org for more information).

Since 2004, Professor Schoenthaler has been assisting institutions and agencies in reducing behavior problems and improving performance by showing them how to incorporate nutritional diagnosis, dietary change, supplementation, and nutritional education into existing treatment modalities. Between 2002 and 2007, the British and Dutch have replicated Professor Schoenthaler’s work in 9 correctional facilities.

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Tags: Drug Addiction Alternative Treatment · Sugar Addiction

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