When Candy Becomes Criminal

If you ate candy every day as a child, you’re more likely to become a violent criminal. That’s the stunning revelation from a recent study done by Cardiff University. The study probed the habits of 17,500 people born in 1970, and found that those who said they ate sweets nearly every day when they were 10 were far more likely to have been convicted for a violent crime by the time they were 34.

69 percent of the 17,500 ate sweets every day. Which is a pretty jaw-dropping number.

However, the sweets themselves aren’t to blame for the bad behavior. Rather, it stems from the fact that giving children candy when they desire it, or as a reward, prevents the kids from learning how to deter gratification. They become pushy, and eventually sometimes aggressive. The kids don’t properly learn how to wait to get something they want.

As Jeff Kart notes over at TreeHugger, “Using candy as a reward for good behavior is risky because not all children learn patience from the practice. Instead, these children become more impulsive.”

It’s a pretty powerful finding, and yet another reason to restrict the number of sweets parents allow their children to have–I don’t even need to mention here that the American obesity rate is upwards of 25 percent. The researchers themselves say it best: “This association between confectionary consumption and violence needs further attention. Targeting resources at improving children’s diet may improve health and reduce aggression.”

So there you have it. If you want to minimize the chances your kid will become a violent criminal, or obese, for that matter, let’s lay off the sweets. Don’t want to cut out candy completely? Check out this article for some sweet alternatives and socially-aware candy choices.

By Brian Merchant, Planet Green


Donna B.
Donna B6 years ago

Wow. Not sure that I'm completely 'buying" this study. But thx for the post.

Melissah Chadwick
Past Member 6 years ago


wchi wink
.6 years ago

too many sweets ages you faster! we need to educate adults and children....

Michele Wilkinson

I'm not sure that I believe these statistics, as personally, I feel other factors have more importance and more bearing on how people may become violent criminals.

Courtney Belyea
Past Member 8 years ago

I think there are much more important factors that influence children to grow up to be criminals, including living in poverty, abuse, parents on drugs instead of parenting them, mental heath issues that were never treated etc. I know you guys are all about a healthy lifestyle but it is unhealthy to scare people into feeding their children health food.
When study without a lot of evidence are used like this, I think it takes away from the real issues that need to be addressed.

K s Goh
KS Goh8 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Robert O.
Robert O8 years ago

I find it a little hard to believe completely, but at the same time I can believe it to an extent since candy is full of preservatives, artificial colors and flavoring that can wreak havoc on the body and its systems over time. I'm all for candy and treats, but in moderation.

Rosie Lopez
Rosie Lopez8 years ago

LOL! I should be grateful I didn't always get to eat candy :-)

chiari l.
Chiari L8 years ago

ooh creepy

Re S.
Re S8 years ago

Regardless of whether candy will turn our children into criminals, I think it's a mistake to give it to our children except for on the rarest occasions. There are no nutrients, and just about every ingredient has some proven health detriment.