This research published in the British Journal of Psychiatry suggests that by allowing kids to have candy frequently (in this study daily), kids " do not learn to delay gratification, which some think is a feature of violent individuals generally"
The researchers, from Wales noted that 69% of the study participants who were violent by the age of 34 reported that they ate confectionery nearly every day during childhood, whereas only 42% of those who were nonviolent did. The authors further stated that "persistently using confectionery to control childhood behavior might prevent children from learning to defer gratification, which can lead to more impulsive behaviors. These are both biases that are strongly associated with delinquency."
The overall conclusion is that early food experiences DO matter and food rewards to control behavior may not control behavior in the way imagined.
So, please, go ahead and say "no" to candy. Remember that candy is not a "TREAT" (please see our newsletter for this month for my rant about how candy is as much as a "Treat" as letting your child eat a stick of lard or a cup of salt). Rather than create a neighborhood of hooligans this Halloween, hand out some low sugar snacks or toys (little plastic animals, bubbles) or art supplies (pencils, crayons, chalk).
For more information see the British Journal of Psychiatry October 2009