August 17, 2013
According to a new study , children who consume large daily quantities of soda are prone to expressing aggression, withdrawal and attention issues because the high sugar concentration completely alters human behavior.
The University of Vermont and Columbia University contributed researchers to the project; along with the Harvard School of Public Health.
Shakira Suglia, lead author of the study explained: “In a previous study, my co-authors, Sara Solnick and David Hemenway had noted an association between soda consumption and violent behavior in adolescents. I thought it might be interesting to see a similar association between younger children.”
Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing (FFCW) conducted a previous study. This data was used by Suglia’s team o review information on 5,000 children located in 20 cities.
Parents reported on their child’s soda consumption while also filing a Child Behavior Checklist (CBC) that extended for 8 weeks.
Suglia said: “With withdrawn behavior, we asked questions like, ‘Is the child often quiet? Are they shy? Do they have low energy? For the aggression, we asked ‘Does the child get into fights at school? Do they destroy things? Attack people?’ And this was all combined into one score.”
It was shown that 43% of children consumed at least one soda per day. With socioeconomic factors entered into the data, Suglia’s team concluded that “any form of soft drink consumption was associated with aggressive behavior. The relationship also resembled a dose-response effect, meaning the more soda a child consumed, the stronger the association with aggressive behavior. Furthermore, the children who consumed four or more soft drinks a day had a significant association with higher withdrawn scores and higher attention problem scores.”
Suglia acknowledged that caffeine “has been associated with child behavior problems, also sugar – though the scientific evidence is mixed. But the only two main ingredients that have been examined are caffeine and sugar, so it could be either one of those, and it could be a host of other things (used in the drink).”
In recent years, soda corporations have marketed and targeted children to create lifetime customers.
Earlier this month, Mark DeBoer, pediatrician at the University of Virginia (UoV), led a study that found school-aged kids and teenagers who consume soda on a daily basis are more likely to become obese.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published the study.
DeBoer explained: “Even though sugar-sweetened beverages are relatively a small percentage of the calories that children take in, that additional amount of calories did contribute to more weight gain over time.”
The team at UoV analyzed data from 9,600 participating children between the ages of 2 to 5 years of age. Parents filled out questionnaires that asked about the drinking habits of those children.
Questions pertaining to sugary drinks included sodas, sports drinks and fruit drinks that were not 100% juice.
DeBoer said: “[The] additional amount of calories did contribute to more weight gain over time.”
Measurements of those children’s body mass index (BMI) were taken; as well as calculations for their height and weight.
DeBoer stated : “As a means of protecting against excess weight gain, parents and caregivers should be discouraged from providing their children with (sugar-sweetened beverages) and consuming instead calorie-free beverages and milk. Such steps may help mitigate a small but important contribution to the current epidemic of childhood obesity.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 17% of American children between the ages of 2 and 18 are considered obese.
Researchers at Purdue University have analyzed studies and data regarding the correlation between the consumption of diet soda and the body mass index (BMI) of those customers using the product. Findings show that the artificial sweeteners are the culprit for health problems and dietary issues.
Artificial sweeteners used in diet soda tricks the body into thinking that it is consuming calories; yet this has disastrous effects physiologically.
Susan Swithers, behavioral neuroscientist and professor of psychological sciences for Purdue University said : “Honestly, I thought that diet soda would be marginally better compared to regular soda in terms of health. But in reality it has a counterintuitive effect. You’ve messed up the whole system, so when you consume real sugar, your body doesn’t know if it should try to process it because it’s been tricked by the fake sugar so many times.”
Swithers explained that “accumulating evidence suggests that frequent consumers of these sugar substitutes (such as aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin) may also be at increased risk of … metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”
In order to keep customers, Ben Sheidler, spokesman for Coca-Cola, explained that the corporation’s new ad campaign aims to reassure customers about the safety of artificial sweeteners such as aspartame.
Entitled, “Quality Products You Can Always Feel Good About,” the advert “will highlight the benefits and safety of low-calorie and artificial sweeteners found in the Atlanta-based soft drink giant’s beverages.”
The ad stated: “Time and again, these low- and no-calorie sweeteners have shown to be safe, high-quality alternatives to sugar. In fact, the safety of aspartame is supported by more than 200 studies over the last 40 years.”