The effects of sucrose on the neuropsychological test performance of juvenile offenders with low (<50 mg/dl), borderline (50-60 mg/dl), and normal (>60 mg/dl) serum glucose nadirs during an oral sucrose tolerance test were examined using a double-blind crossover challenge design. Subjects ingested a sucrose-loaded (78 g) and a no-sucrose (<1 g) breakfast prior to behavioral assessments. Offenders with atypically low glucose nadirs performed better after ingesting the sucrose-loaded breakfast than after the control meal. A similar effect was observed in offenders with serum glucose nadirs falling in the normal range whereas subjects with borderline nadirs performed comparatively poorly following both breakfasts. These results indicate that the relations among short-term sucrose consumption, biochemistry, and behavior are complex and highlight the need to rigorously test presumptions regarding the effects of sucrose on the behavior of juvenile criminal offenders.
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