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Is soda causing your child’s behavioural problems?

Do you sometimes despair over your child’s behaviour? Do they sometimes seem to get into fights more often than other children? Do they seem destructive for no particular reason? Well, it might be worth looking at their diet to see if something is triggering the aggression. Your number one suspect should be soda.

A study published in the Journal of Pediatrics has found that children who consumed more than 4 sodas a day displayed more aggressive behaviour and poor concentration skills. The study looked at the habits of 2929 American 5-year-old children, taking into account factors such as ethnicity, social background, as well as other possible triggers for aggression such as high volumes of TV watching or eating large amounts of candy. When all these things were factored in, one clear pattern remained – that the children who had consumed 4 or more sodas a day were more likely to display these behaviours, specifically being physically aggressive towards people and destroying property.

Some of you reading this (me included!) might be appalled at the idea of a 5-year-old routinely drinking more than 4 sodas a day. But it’s clearly not a rare occurrence, of the almost 3000 children surveyed, 4% fell into the 4+ bracket. That’s 117 5-year-old kids who drink that much soda. Obviously, soda is never going to be good for you – the combination of caffeine, sugar and colourings are enough to make anyone hyperactive. But it seems that this level of soda consumption, at this age is actually physically dangerous. If it’s only the outward signs that are being measured (the violence and lack of attention), then we can only imagine what kind of damage is being done on the inside. The study didn’t measure what kinds of sodas were being consumed (i.e. diet or sugary, caffeinated or caffeine-free), so it’s hard to pinpoint what it is that specifically triggers the behaviours.

Still, the message of the study is that excessive soda consumption is bad for kids, and it’s probably worth limiting sodas entirely. 43% of the 5-year-olds involved in the study had a soda at least once a day and a similar study in California in 2005 found that 40% of 2 to 11-year-olds had the same amount. So, roughly half of all American children drink soda regularly by the age of 5. In my opinion, soda should be an occasional treat, if drunk at all. Maybe the results of this study will make parents think twice about offering their kids sodas – after all, it’s also addictive. Caffeine is especially addictive and even adults report withdrawal symptoms if they have a day without drinking their cola. What to do you think?


Until next time,

Peace, love and vitamin C!


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