Crime and Malnourishment

Perhaps this can suggest something even more novel like fast food is responsible for the increased crime levels? By eliminating McDonalds and Burger King, the US could cut crime by whole percentage rates? Maybe this could spawn whole new legal defenses? “Because I was malnurished, I was not thinking straight.” Perhaps too similar to the insanity defense.

Does Eating Salmon Lower the Murder Rate? – New York Times

Most prisons are notorious for the quality of their cuisine (pretty poor) and the behavior of their residents (pretty violent). They are therefore ideal locations to test a novel hypothesis: that violent aggression is largely a product of poor nutrition. Toward that end, researchers are studying whether inmates become less violent when put on a diet rich in vitamins and in the fatty acids found in seafood.

Could a salmon steak and a side of spinach really help curb violence, not just in prison but everywhere? In 2001, Dr. Joseph Hibbeln, a senior clinical investigator at the National Institutes of Health, published a study, provocatively titled “Seafood Consumption and Homicide Mortality,” that found a correlation between a higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids (most often obtained from fish) and lower murder rates.

Of course, seeing a correlation between fatty acids and nonviolence doesn’t necessarily prove that fatty acids inhibit violence…. What would it mean if we found a clear link between diet and violent behavior? To start with, it might challenge the notion that violence is a product of free will. “But how do you exercise that free will without using your brain?” Gesch asks. “And how, exactly, is the brain going to work properly without an adequate nutrient supply?” The belief that people choose to be violent may be irrelevant if the brain isn’t firing on all cylinders. This may especially be the case for impulsive acts of violence, which are less a choice than a failure to rein in one’s worst instincts.




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