In my younger years I worked as an officer in juvenile detention facility. With overcrowded conditions, the job of keeping an eye on the 6- to 16-year-olds had its challenges.
Several times a week families were allowed to visit and bring food to the young inmates. Needless to say, what they brought was a conglomeration of the worst fare available, mostly candy, cookies and other assorted junk food.
After visiting hours we counselors suffered through hell. The kids literally began bouncing off the walls. Total chaos!
There was no mistaking the food connection; the same reactions were observed time and time again after each visiting hours.
It did not take long to put two and two together to connect the wild behavior with what the juveniles were eating and the resultant hypoglycemia.
After I entered professional school at The Chiropractic Institute of New York, I began my first investigative research paper, titled “The Nutritive Factors in Delinquency.” It was published in The National Chiropractic Association Journal in March 1961.
Many studies and reports have been done since on a much broader scale and have concluded that food we eat can affect behavior.
In 1984 Alexander G. Schauss, Ph.D., a biosocial and dietary expert, published a report on the Yearbook of Nutritional Medicine that stated, in part:
“A multitude of double blind, crossover studies were done throughout the U.S. in detention units for juvenile offenders involving more than 10,000 individuals. It was found that the incidence of antisocial behavior was reduced consistently between 36 percent and 59 percent when sugar was removed from the diet.”
“Double blind” means that a test or trial is one in which any information that may influence the behavior of the tester or the subject is withheld until after the test.
“Crossover” means the object of the test, in this case sugar, was first withheld and then added back without the subject’s knowledge.
You will remember a previous column I wrote dealt with low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Some of the symptoms are anger, irritability, argumentativeness, depression and confusion.
All of them were easily recognizable in youths who were being detained for various anti-social behavior, ranging from persistent fighting to robbery to homicide.
It would behoove us all to recognize these symptoms in ourselves then relate them to our diet.
For example, if you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself, did you just have an overload of sugar or caffeine? You will soon learn these are foods you must avoid.
Hence, to answer our question, dietary factors can indeed affect our behavior.
In future columns we will discuss the effects of hypoglycemia on such things as divorce, auto crashes and anger in general.
Retired chiropractic doctor Francis Trapani’s background includes 41 years of practice plus doing investigative reporting and fitness programs for broadcast media in Hawaii. He has written three books and is working on a yoga self-help manual “The Doctor Prescribes Yoga.” For more information, go to drftrapani.com.