The authors were able to control for a number of factors including gender, race and tobacco and alcohol use but not for some other important factors that could affect the likelihood of violence, such as quality of parenting and poverty. Those who reported drinking lots of soda were also more likely to have also used alcohol or smoked cigarettes.
Nearly 30 percent of the ninth to 12th graders said they drank more than five cans of soda a week.
It's possible that the association is explained by the soda itself, researchers said. Teens who drink lots of soda could be missing important micro-nutrients found in healthier foods, according to background information in the study, or could be drinking soda to combat low blood sugar, which is linked to irritability or violence.
Soft drinks also contain sugar and caffeine, which might affect behavior.
But the studies on the effect of caffeine and sugar on behavior are inconclusive, said another expert.
"There's no definitive explanation that this explains how or if this might affect behavior," said Dr. Alan Manevitz, a psychiatrist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
Alternatively, "soda could be showing that this person is not having a healthy diet or they don't have a great upbringing," Solnick said. "Those things are connected to violence."
In the study, the authors make mention of the infamous "Twinkie Defense" in which defendant Dan White was convicted only of voluntary manslaughter instead of homicide in the deaths of San Francisco city district supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone in 1979.
White's lawyers argued that the crime wasn't premeditated because White was hyped up on junk food and Coca-Cola.
Since then, other studies have further probed possible effects of unhe
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