"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


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