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Eating tomatoes 'turns kids into criminals'
The Observer [UK] ^ | February 23, 2003 | Jean West

Posted on 02/23/2003 7:00:33 AM PST by aculeus

Tomatoes don't agree with John. He is sick within an hour of eating them and becomes sweaty and panicky. But worse than this, they also make him irritable and aggressive and liable to commit violent crimes.

Jason has a similar reaction to bread. He has always loved doorsteps smothered in butter for breakfast. But it gives him diarrhoea and a weird kind of depressed 'hangover'. This makes him crave the heroin that once put his life on the skids.

It may sound implausible, but a controversial theory is gathering momentum: that one explanation for crime may be found on our dinner plates. The premise is that the brain needs the right fuel to function properly - otherwise it will misbehave.

This week, the first clinic in Britain to tackle juvenile delinquency by studying what children eat, then treating them with nutritional medicine and psychotherapy, will open its doors. Its consultant will be Peter Bennett, a former officer with West Yorkshire police.

The Cactus Clinic, at Teesside University in Middlesbrough, sprang from the work of the late Professor Steve Baldwin, who died in the Selby rail disaster, and Janice Hill, who runs the Overload Network, an Edinburgh-based charity for children with behavioural disorders.

Disturbed by a lack of alternatives to the throw-away-the-key approach to delinquency and the over-prescription of psychiatric drugs for children, they forged ahead with their maverick idea. The nutritional approach was based on a wealth of global research into the effects of vitamins, minerals and other compounds such as amino acids on brain chemistry.

Last year a study in the British Journal of Psychiatry suggested that reoffending by juvenile delinquents could be slashed by a quarter if they improved their diets. Some 230 inmates at the young offenders' institution in Aylesbury, Bucks, were assessed over 18 months by researchers from Oxford University. Half were given pills containing vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids, and the other half placebo capsules in a double-blind, randomised trial.

The first group committed 25 per cent fewer offences than the second. The greatest reduction was for serious offences, including violence, where there was a fall of nearly 40 per cent. There was no decline in reoffending for those taking dummy compounds.

But despite evidence that alternative treatments may work, society, mainstream medicine and the prison authorities remain unimpressed. 'It's a crazy notion that we can accept that 10 pints of beer - which, after all, is derived from wheat - can affect behaviour, but not other foodstuffs,' said Hill.

She said nutritional intervention was not a quick fix that promised a speedy improvement in mood, like the new generation of anti-depressants. It took weeks to build up a malnourished brain and programmes had to be tailor-made.

In many cases, it is difficult to pinpoint the offending food type. John, who became more aggressive after eating tomatoes, lacked an enzyme that detoxifies a compound found in tomatoes, consisting of salicylates. It is believed these caused a chemical reaction in his brain, which then affected his behaviour.

'The children we see have psychological problems linked to physical problems, often caused by nutritional deficiencies. Children should have access to basic tests that can quickly establish nutritional status rather than having their knuckles perpetually rapped,' said Hill.

Hill came across Peter Bennett when she saw a QED documentary about his work with young criminals in Yorkshire. They were assessed for nutritional shortfalls and food allergies and put on individual programmes to address their problems. Bennett was astonished by the changes he witnessed.

He stumbled upon the work of a number of nutritionists during a study sabbatical at Oxford University. Disappointed that the force did not take his findings more seriously, he quit his job and trained as a nutritionist. He continues to get remarkable results from his patients. 'One child has just been accepted back into mainstream school, which is significant because, once you are excluded, you are usually excluded for good,' he said.

Other possible explanations for violent outbursts that Bennett has investigated include blood sugar imbalances, often attributed to over-reliance on refined sugar. He has studied the effect of fluctuating blood sugar on women who have used the defence of PMT in murder trials. He says that, a few days before menstruation, the release of female hormones can wreak havoc with blood sugar.

'If women then eat something like a bar of chocolate or drink an alcoholic drink, it will boost them up very rapidly, but then they go crash because the blood sugar rush is quickly used up. This can provoke rage and violent outbursts.'

The problem is not confined to pre-menstrual women - teenagers of both sexes weaned on junk food diets whose hormones are just kicking in are prime candidates for hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar). Swapping simple sugars for more complex carbohydrates, such as bread, rice and pasta that don't spark the same glucose rush, offers a solution.

Hill, whose charity offers support to children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) insists that many of their restless, agitated symptoms can be traced back to the foods they have eaten, and not just sugars and additives.

Her own daughter, Debbie, now 17, has suffered from ADHD since childhood and was both disruptive and aggressive. Hill swiftly identified the foods that knocked her off balance, which included apples and strawberries, and introduced a raft of supplements including high doses of vitamin C, B6 and zinc and essential fatty acids into her diet. She calmed down significantly.

Eat your way out of trouble

Zinc, found mainly in shellfish and green leafy vegetables, has a calming effect on the central nervous system. Deficiencies are common after the consumption of food and drinks containing tartrazine, a colouring known to disturb behaviour in some youngsters.

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are well-known mood regulators and are especially calming for women with PMT. Their ability to balance hormones makes them particularly useful for teenagers.

B6 (pyridoxine) is important for normal brain function and is found in broccoli, lentils, bananas and nuts. Deficiency symptoms include hyper- irritability, depression, fatigue and learning difficulties.

Calcium and magnesium are natural tranquillisers. They help to relieve anxiety and nervousness, tantrums and depression and have been used to combat aggression. They are found in dairy foods, fish and green leafy vegetables.

B5 (pantothenic acid) is known as the anti-stress vitamin and is involved in the production of neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate mood. It is found in eggs, kidneys, mushrooms and pork.

· The Cactus Clinic can be contacted on 0131 555 4967.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Front Page News; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: agriculture; animalhusbandry; crime; criminaldefense; dietandcuisine; droptheketchup; huntergatherers; junkscience; kids; tomatoes; whowritesthiscrap
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To: HairOfTheDog
I had one of these allergy-obsessed mothers next to me at one time. She carried around epipens (injectable epinephrine) for fear her kids would go into anaphylactic shock. No one ever witnessed an episode...finally it turned out she was one of those "Meunchausen Syndrome by Proxy" nuts. Bizarre.
21 posted on 02/23/2003 8:09:24 AM PST by Mamzelle
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To: snopercod
Are you sure it wasn't the cockroaches and mouse feces?

I've seen cockroaches in Florida that could have fed a family of four....

22 posted on 02/23/2003 8:11:17 AM PST by freebilly (Why do Republicans play hardball like little girls...?)
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To: aculeus
A member of the deadly nightshade family, tomatoes were erroneously thought to be poisonous (although the leaves are poisonous) by Europeans who were suspicious of their bright, shiny fruit. Native versions were small, like cherry tomatoes, and most likely yellow rather than red.
23 posted on 02/23/2003 8:11:59 AM PST by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (Anything from ABCNNBCBS is suspect!)
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To: Bernard
Tho alot of people like to laugh this off, there is certainly sound science to back up the allergic responses to certain foods. Several years ago, a Dr. Ray was using concentration/dilution therapy on children with food allergies. The videos I saw were astounding. They would give a 3yr old kid one drop of say.... a corn concentrate under his skin, with a TB syringe. Within 10 minutes, the kid would be out of control....hitting, biting and spitting (this response was typical of 90% of the kids with allergies). Then, they would give him a diluted form of the same allergen and within the same amount of time.....he would calm down and become focused.

My friend who has a child with FOD and CP, went to Dr. Ray's clinic in Dallas and the child was able to overcome the constant seizures she was having. Basically, what they do is find out what they're allergic to, then mix a diluted formula to give them for 3 weeks. After that.. they should be able to resume those foods in their diet without side effects. I was extremely impressed.

As far as people turning into criminals.....I'm not sure of that analysis. I do know some of the kids became extremely violent when going thru the testing.... but I think you'd have to have the propensity for an adult. Kids react, but adults have the ability to reason and weigh the consequences....regardless of "how they feel".

24 posted on 02/23/2003 8:13:54 AM PST by LaineyDee
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To: aculeus
Doris Rapp has some books on food allergies and behavior. We tried the food elemination diet on our oldest son when he was in elem. sch. and didn't figure out what he was allergic to, but I always noticed he went wild when he ate hot dogs or chocolate, any my other kids did, too. He was allergic to eggs when he was little, and still hates to eat them. Now the oldest son is allergic to codiene and ceclor. Ceclor, one pill, sent him into anaphyatic shock and we almost lost him a couple of years ago at Christmas time. A team of doctors and nurses worked feverishly on him for 6 hours in the emergency room, then he was in observation room for two more hours. It was touch and go. Allergies to food and drugs are REAL. I have a friend who has to carry a shot kit for allergic reactions to TOMATOES. I almost died of penicillin reaction. I am allergic to milk and chocolate. A friend of ours had to stop drinking beer, he craved it, but it made him MEAN. After he gave up beer, their marriage became strong again, he stopped beating her.
25 posted on 02/23/2003 8:13:59 AM PST by buffyt (Nach Frankreich: Sprechen Sie Deutsches? Nein? Bitte schön.)
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To: HairOfTheDog
I have a no-coffee allergy. If I have no coffee I get cranky. ;)

Seriously, foods do affect the way you feel. I found out about a year ago that sugar upsets my system purely by accident. I cut sugar out of my diet and have felt great every since.

As to making them misbehave I do not buy it. Sure it may make you cranky but so does going without enough sleep. That is no excuse for poor or out of control behavior.

26 posted on 02/23/2003 8:14:00 AM PST by Harmless Teddy Bear (Sometimes "peace" is another word for surrender.)
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To: aculeus
My first impulse was to scoff. But there's probably something in this.

I suspect that nutritional science is probably in a pretty dismal state, because the organic chemistry of foods, vitamins, digestion, hormone production, and cell building is extremely complicated. We see that when doctors issue warnings not to eat one food and to eat plenty of another and then ten years later reverse themselves completely.

Given the lack of solid understanding of the physical processes involved, probably the two best sources are folk wisdom (which regretably was heavily suppressed by overconfidence in science) and statistical surveys like those mentioned here. And individual tests. How does Jimmy behave when he eats apples? When he doesn't eat them?

In other words, our real knowledge of diet is still extremely primitive.
27 posted on 02/23/2003 8:20:20 AM PST by Cicero
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To: HairOfTheDog
hypocondria can be distinguished from allergy by a blind skin patch test. (usually)
28 posted on 02/23/2003 8:24:10 AM PST by js1138
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To: aculeus
Eat your spinach Johnnie, or you'll grow up to be a SICK FREAK!
29 posted on 02/23/2003 8:31:31 AM PST by ricpic
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To: js1138
She's probably allergic to the skin patches used in the test! - LOL!
30 posted on 02/23/2003 8:31:49 AM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: LaineyDee
Tho alot of people like to laugh this off, there is certainly sound science to back up the allergic responses to certain foods. Several years ago, a Dr. Ray was using concentration/dilution therapy on children with food allergies.

I have been 95% cured of horrible allergies with this same therapy. I had 3 allergists tell me that I was the most allergic patient to ragweed they had ever seen. The 4th used this concentration/dilution therapy and now ragweed season is nothing more than occasional sniffles on a few days each year.

I saw a video by my doctor (Dr. Chung in Bedford) when he was on a TV show showing how he treated kids with allergies that produced ADD and even violence in children. One small injection of a dilution of the allergen (oftentimes milk) turned a raving monster into a calm child within a few minutes.

I guess you could say I'm a believer.

31 posted on 02/23/2003 8:32:43 AM PST by DallasMike
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To: snopercod
Can't be - it hasn't affected me, yet.
32 posted on 02/23/2003 8:33:07 AM PST by Bernard
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To: buffyt
“I love those big, Cape Cod tomatoes. Yoi can eat them like an apple!”

-George Costanza

33 posted on 02/23/2003 8:40:09 AM PST by johnny7 (Stienbrenner put me in the nuthouse!!)
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To: aculeus; general_re; BlueLancer; hellinahandcart
An excellent defense for mafiosi.
34 posted on 02/23/2003 8:43:59 AM PST by dighton
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To: freebilly
cockroaches in Florida that could have fed a family of four

LOL. We have those palmetto bugs in South Texas also. I watched a fight between one of them and a gecko one night. The gecko eventually won, but it took him a long time. For a while I thought he was going to have to send for reinforcements.

35 posted on 02/23/2003 8:45:40 AM PST by Marauder (What this country needs is more unemployed politicians.)
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To: Cicero
"My first impulse was to scoff."

So was mine. Then, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. After years of cavalierly treating it, I became depressed, irritable and it almost cost me the things I hold dear.

After much research, and the help of a family member who is a doctor, I slowly came to realize that it is the foods we eat today that are causing a multitude of problems, including the epidemic of type 2 diabetics, mostly related to how the body processes sugars, and how the body utilizes insulin.

My doctor relative is even more convinced now that diet plays a much larger role in the ills of society tody than we ever thought.

If one looks at things like crime increases, and anti-social behavior increases, you can see that the timeline coincides with the introduction of "fast foods" of various kinds.

Hormonal imbalances caused by these foods also may be responsible for the 'they didn't make girls like that when I was in school' observation. In fact, they didn't. But hormonal changes brought on by food additives and processes seem to be causing puberty and accelerated growth stages in our youth, with all of the attendant problems that causes.(girls and boys in adult bodies)

Nowadays, having a garden to grow your own produce may be a vital means of self defense.

36 posted on 02/23/2003 8:49:17 AM PST by wcbtinman
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To: aculeus
Tomatoes, eh? I'm deathly allergic to 'em in the raw form. That explains a lot, I guess ...
37 posted on 02/23/2003 8:50:46 AM PST by strela (Porgie Tirebiter - He's a Spy and a Girl Delighter)
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To: rintense
I KNEW IT! Anything with inards as slimy as tomatoes must be evil.

I felt that way about wimmin right after my divorce.


38 posted on 02/23/2003 8:56:17 AM PST by Servant of the Nine (Republicans for Sharpton)
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar
The same way you eat "$h*t on a shingle". One bite at a time!

I had a rather fortunate situation when I was in the Corps many years ago-- I actually like SOS. I remember my first acquaintance with it- "What is this stuff, anyway? Its pretty good!"

39 posted on 02/23/2003 8:56:37 AM PST by Riley
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To: LaineyDee
I understand why you would have your doubts about criminal behavior and allergies.

We certainly don't need any more excuses for bad behavior. It's sad that there will always be people (and lawyers) in society who will try to misuse discoveries and programs for their benefit.

I have read however, that there have been studies linking allergies and diet with mental illness. It would be wonderful if this proved to be something that could benefit families who are dealing with the horrors of schizophrenia and other mental disorders.
40 posted on 02/23/2003 9:00:50 AM PST by Lijahsbubbe
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