Author Topic: Nutritional Link to Violent Crimes?  (Read 6023 times)

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Offline Squall

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Nutritional Link to Violent Crimes?
« on: October 10, 2008, 07:51:27 am »
More than a few nutritionists believe that nutrition plays an important role in brain chemistry, almost to the point of determining whether a particular individual will function normally in society or whether that individual will have a hard time "playing nice" with others. Even between these, though, you'll find a division between those who believe that nutrition has the greatest impact during childhood and those who say nutrition throughout all life is significant in determining sanity.

What I thought would be interesting is looking for correlations between poor nutrition and violent criminals. I must clarify though, that we should factor out non-psychological factors as much as possible. For instance, a scenario involving an armed robber killing a convenience store clerk for whats in the cash drawer would probably be better classified as economically motivated, i.e. stealing money in that person's opinion was easier than simply working for it. Correlations should be looked for in those violent offenders who appear to commit crimes for the sake (or thrill) of committing crimes and not simply for the payoffs.

Anybody got any stories, articles, etc.?
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Offline JustAnotherExplorer

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Re: Nutritional Link to Violent Crimes?
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2008, 08:27:03 am »
I think that we will likely all agree that nutrition, particularly in the formative years of childhood and in the womb, have a profound effect on the function of the brain and other related systems of the body.  I find it very plausible that diet affects mood and judgment.  Proving this, and particularly proving a causal link between crime and diet, is likely to be impossible.

Looking for correlations between criminals and diet will be just as hard and fraught with error as any other epidemiological study.  (Starting with the fact that self reporting of diet is very unreliable, all of the experts on this board excluded from that generalization, of course  ;))  Your criteria for ruling out other factors is very vague and the example does not prove your point.  We can just as easily assume that the armed robber killed the clerk for fun and that the money is just a prize.  In giving the criminal a motive we've created and accepted a non-testable hypothesis.

Most people do the right thing most of the time, but there does exist a small percentage of the population0 that has no real empathy for others and their suffering.  We call them sociopaths.  It would take a lot of work to convince me that diet has a crucial role in the brain disorders that cause sociopathy.  There is some evidence that connects sociopathy with oxytocin disorders.  The June 08 Scientific American has a great article that looks into some of that research.

Offline boxcarguy07

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Re: Nutritional Link to Violent Crimes?
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2008, 08:46:19 am »
Here's an interesting article on a study I came across a while back:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2006/oct/17/prisonsandprobation.ukcrime


I certainly believe nutrition, particularly omega-3 levels, plays a crucial role in brain function, therefore aggression levels.

Offline wodgina

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Re: Nutritional Link to Violent Crimes?
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2008, 10:20:58 am »
I think personality is hard wired. I lean more towards genetics and how our 'blueprint' is mapped out in the womb. So yeah I think sociopath will be a sociopath even with a good diet.



Looking for correlations between criminals and diet will be just as hard and fraught with error as any other epidemiological study.  (Starting with the fact that self reporting of diet is very unreliable, all of the experts on this board excluded from that generalization, of course  ;)


Ha ha yeah It's really hard to self report! bias, personality....


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Offline Squall

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Re: Nutritional Link to Violent Crimes?
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2008, 01:37:38 pm »
Your criteria for ruling out other factors is very vague and the example does not prove your point.

To be honest, there wasn't a point I was trying to prove, only a family of variables to eliminate for the sake of scientific study. People who kill to survive are certainly bad people, but they are at least responding to a biologically viable stimulus: i.e., don't die. Never mind if they will or will not survive based on the crime they commit, as long as they perceive a threat to their own survival and a need to commit that crime. Despite their willingness to commit crimes we can (arguably) say that their brains are reacting rationally to some sort of valid stimulus: I am poor. I need money. I will steal money from someone and kill them if I have to to get it would be an understandable (though not forgivable) line of reasoning. What is more difficult to understand is why someone would kill simply for the sake of killing, with little or no payoff.

We can just as easily assume that the armed robber killed the clerk for fun and that the money is just a prize.  In giving the criminal a motive we've created and accepted a non-testable hypothesis.

If our hypothetical armed robber's primary motivation for killing the clerk was fun and not money, then there would be no reason to exclude him from this study as his (or her) ability to reason is probably impaired. Also, the idea is not necessarily to assign motive, but to glean it from study of these types of individuals. Motives that have economic rationale, IMO, would not be suitable for the study because their brains are working fine (although they are still jerks); crimes without rationale and that suggest some sort of synaptic misfiring would be perfect.

Also, it might not be that difficult to establish correlation. For the very worst offenders, serial killers, serial rapists, etc., getting good clean data is probable I should think, considering that many of these types are very methodical to the point of pathological OCD in everything that they do (especially crime). They are liable to eat the same things, at the same times, with very little variation. Self-reporting should not be an issue either, since there are no awards to win, and telling the data collector the "right" combinations of foods gets him out of prison no sooner. I would think someone asking a serial killer what they ate would seem extremely mundane. And even if they wanted to lie about what they ate, what criteria would they use to base their fabrication on? To be safe, a data collector could just omit what he really wants to know about the criminal (i.e., dietary habits).

I agree in advance that I am generalizing the serial killer/rapist mental state. Obviously I am aware that the possibility exists of just such a criminal without OCD tendencies. But I would hazard to say that most fit the general mold. After all, many of them are caught on the basis of not being able to vary their routines enough, therefore ultimately giving themselves away. But given an extreme propensity for obsessive tendencies as well as acting to such violent extremes, often without any rational reason, these types of people would be perfect for studying possible links between poor nutrition and anti-social behavior, IMO. Hell, submitting to such a study is the least they can do for society anyway ...

So I guess my hypothesis is: Poor nutrition causes varying degrees of anti-social behavior; furthermore, good nutrition may play a role in mitigating anti-social behavior.

And I liked that article!
The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.

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Offline iceman

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Re: Nutritional Link to Violent Crimes?
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2008, 04:33:45 am »
I just saw this article...

Seems like omega 6 oils from vegetables is called "the devil's fat" by some researcher...

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/09/vegetable-oil-and-homicide.html

Offline Raw Kyle

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Re: Nutritional Link to Violent Crimes?
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2008, 02:08:44 am »
Someone told me once that in a book about vitamin b12 the author looked at prisoners for violent crimes and found them all to be b12 deficient. I would also look at metal toxicity in the brain, as aluminum has been found very often (all of the time from what I understand) in the brains of Alzheimers patients and there is also the mercury-vaccine-autism connection. Of course those two diseases are violent crime related, but if heavy metals can make you retarded they can probably make you insane, psychotic etc.

Offline PaleoKyle

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Re: Nutritional Link to Violent Crimes?
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2008, 03:53:54 am »
Someone told me once that in a book about vitamin b12 the author looked at prisoners for violent crimes and found them all to be b12 deficient. I would also look at metal toxicity in the brain, as aluminum has been found very often (all of the time from what I understand) in the brains of Alzheimers patients and there is also the mercury-vaccine-autism connection. Of course those two diseases are violent crime related, but if heavy metals can make you retarded they can probably make you insane, psychotic etc.

I agree with the metals. I read a study once about high lead content in the blood having a connection with high crime rates. I will have too look for it. It was showing that communities with higher lead content in their water also had higher crime rates.

Offline PaleoKyle

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Re: Nutritional Link to Violent Crimes?
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2008, 04:12:35 am »
Wow! So there are several studies linking lead to violent crime:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050223145108.htm

http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/may2008/2008-05-28-03.asp

http://www.pure-earth.com/lead.html


I would say that tap water is the source of a lot of violent crime. With the metals and the fluoride and everything else in it that messes up the brain.

Offline Raw Kyle

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Re: Nutritional Link to Violent Crimes?
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2008, 08:05:28 pm »
Also I was just finishing up the Weston Price book and the second to last chapter is about the link between criminality/unsocial behavior, retardation/insanity and nutrition. It's pretty obvious that people who have worse nutrition (especially prenatal and as a baby) have a much higher chance of being mentally impaired whether that leads to violence or simply a low level of intellectual functioning.

Offline Python

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Re: Nutritional Link to Violent Crimes?
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2008, 08:23:41 am »
I believe it. My psycopathy goes away when after a few glasses of raw milk.
Growth hormones are groovy.

 

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