"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).


Recent Posts


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