"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


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