Teenagers who drink soda pop are more violent, study says

A new scientific study on food and diet--and what would we do without them?--says that teenagers who drink at least two cans of pop every day are remarkably more violent, and more likely to carry weapons, than kids who don't.

And that's not the only surprising thing the study found.

The research analyzed data from nearly 2,000 kids in Boston high schools and compared kids who drank one or zero cans of soft drinks a week to those who drank 14 or more.

Among the soda-abstinent teenagers, the study found that 23 percent carried a gun or knife and 15 percent had been violent toward a partner, according to the Washington Post. But among the heavy drinkers, 43 percent packed a gun or knife and 27 percent had beaten on their partners.

Let's ignore for the moment the even more disturbing statistic that, even among teenagers who don't drink soda, nearly one in four Boston high schoolers carry guns and knives. The study also found a similar difference between the groups in violence toward fellow students (35 percent to 58 percent) and siblings (25 percent to 43 percent), the Post reported.

As is often the case with diet studies, it seems to raise more questions than it answers. The scientists only found a correlation between soft drinks and violence, but they couldn't definitively draw a cause-and-effect conclusion that drinking gallons of Coke and Pepsi actually makes kids violent. The study tried to factor out things like age and alcohol consumption, but maybe there's some other reason, they said, that wasn't accounted for in their findings. Like--and we're just spitballing here--the lack of adult supervision that allows kids to mainline soda all day.

In any case, the trend toward schools getting rid of their soda machines on campus is sounding like a better idea all the time. And if you have kids of your own, it might be time to hide the Fanta.

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