"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


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