6.1.6 – One biological treatment for criminality – Diet


This treatment is based on the assumption that minerals, vitamins, essential fatty acids and blood glucose levels significantly influence human behaviour. Low levels of any of these things are thought to play a role in causing violence.


(+) Benton (1996) – Decreased blood glucose levels led to increase in irritability in Peruvian children.

  • But, he suggested that it wasn’t the only factor (provocation and social skills play a role, too).

(+) Cheap and easy to do.

(+) Gesch et al (2002)  – Disciplinary incidents dropped by 35% when taking suppliments, compared to 6.7% in placebo group.

(+) Diet treatment can be explained by the changes in hormone levels and studied scientifically


(-) little evidence actually exists.

(-) Short term solution – once out of prison, their diet can’t be modified and therefore they could return to being violent.