"Health is a large word. It embraces not the body only, but the mind and spirit as well;...
and not today's pain or pleasure alone, but the whole being and outlook of a man."
~James H. West

Lisa's Blog

A Soft Drink a day Keeps Good Behaviour Away

Lisa Cutforth - Saturday, August 24, 2013

I was reading the paper this morning and was astonished to read that HALF of all Australian children drink one can of soft drink a day and 13 per cent drink three cans or more (as published in the Journal of Pediatrics).  I was devastated to learn that parents are giving babies soft drinks in their sippy cups and bottles (as reported in the Medical Association). 

The mistake I often make as a practitioner is the assumption that common sense is common and that people have been exposed to the education and facts that I have that prevent me making those decisions and mistakes.

I did my dissertation at university on ADD/ADHD and treatment about 10 years ago, so know too well the relationship between poor diet and behaviour problems, not just in children, but adults too.

The headline of the article I was reading was "Soft drinks make kids crazy" (The Courier Mail Saturday 24 August).  In fact I wouldn't even have read it except that I was so surprised that this was "news".  I thought this was OLD NEWS and by now EVERY ONE KNEW that soft drinks make kids crazy.  Apparently many still don't realise the disastrous effects soft drinks are having on children. 

For those that don't yet know, and that is what this article was highlighting was a study by the University of Columbia on 3000 five year olds, that children who had a can of soft drink a day had more behavioural problems than those who drank none. 

"All five year olds have "behavioural problems", it has nothing to do with soft drink, my kid is just hyperactive." I have heard parents explain. But the reality is a sugar hit accompanied with a caffeine hit to a young developing brain can have the similar effect to a drug.  It can make kids excitable, jittery, distracted, giddy, dizzy and agitated.. and at an age they are not able to explain what has hit them, they just act it out.  A parent looking on says, "What's got into you, stop being so naughty, calm down."  But they have been over stimulated chemically and physiological and like someone under the influence of alcohol or a drug, you can't just "switch that effect off" and "behave properly". 

The other down side of soft drink is the sugar hit (and caffeine hit) triggers the stress response commonly referred to as "fight or flight response" (which activates hormones that give the body a kick of adrenalin) which typically will "get us going" or "makes us withdrawn".  This fight or flight response in children could be played out as aggression or depression.  Certainly a daily hit of this is not good for a body especially not a little one on a regular basis. Unfortunately "sugar" is not just "sugar" when it's consumed in those quantities in that fizzy, caffeinated delivery system.  Caffeine will accelerate a sugar hit to the brain.

The article notes the Australian Dental Associations Dr Peter Aldritt's coment: "I think people would be shocked if they realised that the average soft drink has 16 packets of sugar in it."

Just in case you didn't know: Soft drinks are also often full of artificial ingredients which effectively are toxins the liver has to then deal with, and the sugar and acidity of sugary fizzy drinks erode tooth enamel and contribute to tooth decay.  Those are some of the LONG KNOWN effects. 

Certainly something we don't want our children to get a "taste" for or develop addictions to this early in their little lives.  Let them seek out soft drinks if they must when they are adults and are practicing free will, but certainly don't allow or ignorantly facilitate daily consumption of soft drinks. 

Better alternatives for children (0-10)?

Breast milk or formula, water, Freshly pressed fruit and vegetable juices (diluted with water and not before 6 months), sparkling mineral water, caffeine free herbal teas like fruit teas or Jasmine tea or Rooibos tea (for over 2s and never from a bottle and away from meals).


Post has no comments.
Post a Comment

Captcha Image

Trackback Link
Post has no trackbacks.

Recent Posts


drugfree alternatives reasons to eat foods in season pop-eye and spinach keep focused happiness workshop diet diary of a nutritionist improve your memory is chocolate bad for me dance reducing coffee 7 Tips to Lower Your Cholesterol and Protect Your Heart healthy cooking demonstration making time to relax ask my doctor addicted to chocolate fruit how to say no Lactose intolerance heart foundation tick explained 7 steps to detox support your body music immune boosting tips should I eat organic veggies organic vegetables corporate wellness soft drink and behaviour problems are grains healthy celebrate life control healthy cooking parties Dr Randy Pausch on Oprah ability to respond nutrition fun breast cancer awareness video hot guys weight relax natural toothpaste nutritionists diet diary nutritious cooking recipes for allergies memory mood life lessons quick recipes prostate cancer weightloss feels good health food intolerances skipping meals muscle wasting have more energy new year's resolutions sugar and add comfort pig sugar and adhd brain health natural alternatives to drugs how to check your breasts weight loss food allergies make stress work for you health for busy people breast cancer prevention benefits of sleeping Add new tag nutritious foods in season, seasonal recipes low calorie meal plan healthy cooking party real food quick eating solutions benefits of strength training, why you should strength train how to avoid injury during exercise nutritionist in brisbane low calorie diet are frozen veggies any good overindulge what is movember which is better for you butter or margarine breakfast health one step at a time blood pressure how to love exercise Sensational performance healthy wine, healthy beer, healthy alcohol options delicious calorie controlled diet cooking class in brisbane happiness course obesity best exercise image fruit and vegetable shortage recipe wrong type of exercise, exercise and results heart disease soft drink and behavior problems fussy eaters anxiety Nina Simone mobile phones and brain cancer, Dr Teo health with 10 % effort Happiness 10 % principle stress, keys to managing stress, benefits of stress nutritionist focus fatigue sexy salad taking responsibility skip meals Cancer comfort eating comfort foods Laughter and stress benefits to keeping a diet diary energy quizz cooking with allergies leaky gut, gut health, symptoms of leaky gut cholesterol lowering diet cheap fruit and vegetables, what's in season in autumn in australia motivation relationship with food four questions you must ask your doctor before taking medication what is a good breakfast sexy salads dangers of multitasking while you eat success and you diet diary taking a break gift how to get more of exercise soccer, role of team sports in longevity, role of exercise and community in longevity food sensitivities fresh life strength ways to improve prostate health indigestion is sugar bad dancing high cholesterol sustainable living, rural development, organic gardening, rampumps, biogas simple 7 day detox plan go for 2 and 5 salad fresh start great second hand books love food christmas health pioneers to know and not do is not yet to know trans fats homocysteine Lisa's Diary healthy shopping childrens lunch boxes I've Got Life healthy fast food, healthy take away life choices Nutritional Therapist love, loneliness empty your mind Alan Pease hunger and stress avoiding a choice lunch detox what is healthy food healthy shopping list libido how to avoid doing the right thing and getting the wrong results increasing energy how to be happy I don't get hungry seasonal quick and tasty recipes breast cancer awareness herbal toothpaste getting fit time management and healthy living immune system low cholesterol do i have to drink milk; where do i get calcium from; non dairy calcium sources Egg allergy the power to choose the tummy beast have fun in the kitchen alzheimers sensitivity to milk recipies gluten intolerance allergies fun maintain a healthy weight, underweight assertiveness muffins