Nutritional Influences on Antisocial Behavior

  • David Benton


There are four ways in which diet has been suggested to influence the expression of antisocial behavior: food intolerance; a lack of essential fatty acids; the developing of low blood glucose levels; and consuming a diet insufficient in minerals and vitamins. In well- controlled studies the hyperactive symptoms of some children have been shown to be influenced by food intolerance. The picture is of children potentially responding to a wide range of food items although the pattern of response is individual to the child. There is no suggestion that diet is the only or even the most common reason for displaying such behavior. No particular additive or food item is a universal cause of problems. In double-blind trials, supplementation with poly-unsaturated fatty acids, multivitamins, and minerals has been found to decrease violence. There is also an association between a tendency to develop low blood glucose and acting aggressively. The picture is largely of idiosyncratic responses to diet that potentially can involve many foods interacting aberrantly with the individual’s basic biology. The influence of diet must, however, be placed in context as it can only influence basic biology. Whether that biological potential is realized will depend on the nature of the individual’s life-time experience and the current psychological and social situation.


Blood Glucose Blood Glucose Level Antisocial Behavior Essential Fatty Acid Glycemic Index 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder


Docosahexaenoic acid


Eicosapentaenoic acid


Glycemic index


Long chain poly-unsaturated fatty acids


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Wales SwanseaSwanseaUK

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