We already know that consuming candy daily can lead to a variety of health issues, but can it cause behavior problems as well? New research out of the University of Cardiff in the U.K. finds an association between children eating candy everyday and violent crime.
The researchers used data from the 1970 British Cohort Study. Out of the 17,500 participants, 69 percent of those convicted for a violent offense by the age of 34 had reported consuming candy or chocolate almost daily as a child. Only 42 percent were found to be non-violent.
Simon Moore, lead study author, tells Time that they initially thought the link was due to other factors. However, even after controlling for factors such as parenting style and the level of family income, the relationship between candy consumption and violent behavior remained significant.
Moore explains the possible link between sweets and aggressive behavior:
“Our favored explanation is that giving children sweets and chocolate regularly may stop them [from] learning how to wait to obtain something they want… Not being able to defer gratification may push them towards more impulsive behavior, which is strongly associated with delinquency.”
This study is published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.