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Soda Makes Five-Year-Olds Break Your Stuff, Science Finds 287

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-like-alcohol-and-teenagers dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Shakira F. Suglia and co-authors surveyed 2,929 mothers of five-year-olds (PDF) and found that 43 percent of the kids consumed at least one serving of soft drinks per day. About four percent of those children (or 110 of them), drank more than four soft drinks per day, and became 'more than twice as likely to destroy things belonging to others, get into fights, and physically attack people.' In the past, soda and its various strains have been related to depression, irritability, aggression, suicidal thoughts, and delusions of sweepstake-winning grandeur. Of course, this study didn't find out what types of soda the children had consumed."
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Soda Makes Five-Year-Olds Break Your Stuff, Science Finds

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  • by sinij (911942) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @10:39AM (#44593617) Journal
    Scientists finally discover sugar high, new at 11!
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Actually, no.

      http://www.yalescientific.org/2010/09/mythbusters-does-sugar-really-make-children-hyper/

      In 1982, the National Institute of Health announced that no link between sugar and hyperactivity had been scientifically proven. Why, then, does this myth still persist? It may be mostly psychological. As previously stated, experimentation has shown that parents who believe in a link between sugar and hyperactivity see one, even though others do not. Another possibility is that children tend to be more excited at events like birthday and Halloween parties where sugary foods are usually served . People may have confused proximity with correlation although the environment is probably more to blame than the food.

      • Because it is not a myth, and anyone who has ever had children and made the mistake of letting them eat sugary foods shortly before bed time knows this.
    • by wiredlogic (135348) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @11:04AM (#44593765)

      The notion of a "sugar high" was a propaganda technique [dukehealth.org] used to manipulate the masses into reducing their sugar consumption during WW2. It doesn't exist. Kids that get hyperactive after consuming sugar do so because they have been trained by an adult into thinking they can act up with impunity because the "sugar" makes them do it.

      • The "sugar high" may well be propaganda, but sugar toxicity is not. [youtube.com] (Or if you prefer print over video, this is a pretty good summary.) [nytimes.com]

      • by nten (709128)

        I found that even diet drinks make me unable to concentrate after a few days of regular consumption. As an experiment I switched from diet cola colored drinks to a diet clear drink that had even more caffeine. The problem went away. Whatever the chemical is, chai tea (diffuser in water, not the starbucks crap) does the same thing to me after a few days, while black and green tea do not.

        • Couldn't the placebo effect be causing this? I bet if you told this to any doctor he'd be thinking that it was placebo in the back of his mind.

      • So, my two-year-old niece, who is normally a delight, only gets atypically pissy, stubborn and reckless when she's consumed sugar in excess because she possesses the cognizance to know she can excuse it based on supposedly false psychological conceptions?

        Sure, OK, I guess I should tell my sister that her daughter is some sort of prodigy.

        • So, my two-year-old niece, who is normally a delight, only gets atypically pissy, stubborn and reckless when she's consumed sugar in excess because she possesses the cognizance to know she can excuse it based on supposedly false psychological conceptions?

          She eats pure sugar? Or maybe she eats foods (probably processed ones) which contain a lot of sugar, but also lots of other ingredients, some of which may cause that behaviour?

      • by delt0r (999393)
        I was never told anything about "sugar rushes" but on odd occasions with particular food i get them. Followed by a crash about 20-40min later. The worst was maple syrup on a maple butter dessert in Canada. To claim that sugar consumption doesn't affect blood sugar levels is disingenuous at best. Ask a diabetic what they get when they are low/high.
    • by internic (453511) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @11:13AM (#44593825)

      Actually the existance of the sugar high has been hotly debated, and as far as I'm aware most of the scientific literature [scientificamerican.com] suggests [yalescientific.org] that it doesn't exist [straightdope.com].

      Of course I think those observations are mostly about double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trails where neither the child nor the observer knows the child has gotten sugar. I don't know if the results of this survey-based cohort study are due to the placebo effect, spurious correlations, or actual new effect.

      (Caveat: I don't know that much about biology/medicine, so take all that with a grain of salt.)

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        However the scientific literature in this case is a crock of shit. Those studies were based upon calorie controlled meals ie take a full days calories appropriate for the test subject and divide that into say five calorie meals. Now supply the individual with exactly the calorie limit for that single meal in a high sugar ratio and not one calorie more and seriously is any one going to sugar high. Reality here, those studies are junk science funded by sugar industry Public relations Arse holes.

        Children ar

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 17, 2013 @10:40AM (#44593623)

    It could be that bad parenting causes both the soda and the bad behavior.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      This seems more likely.

    • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @10:46AM (#44593671)
      Bad parenting causes soda? There must be some seriously bad parenting going on in soda factories; I've seen truckloads of that stuff being hauled out of there.
    • TFP is not quite as conclusive as TFS

      Many factors may affect both soda consumption and problem behaviors of children. Poor dietary behaviors, such as high soda consumption among young children, may be associated with other parenting practices, such as excessive TV viewing or high consumption of sweets in the child’s diet. Furthermore, parenting practices may be associated with social factors known to be associated with child behavior.

    • by AchilleTalon (540925) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @11:26AM (#44593911) Homepage
      I agree with you. This study doesn't prove anything and is complete failure. It doesn't deserve to make its way on /. unless it is to discuss how bad studies can lead media to make false conclusions from thin data and no clue.
      • Well, it's not a failure, it just isn't enough data to draw conclusions from.

        • by pellik (193063)
          I disagree. I don't think we have sufficient data about the amount of data to draw such a conclusion yet.
        • Which I felt I pointed out here, that we have this survey, sampling thousands of mothers (no fathers), about the behavior and consumption habits of their 5-year-olds (not 1 or 7-year-olds) and asks questions with the word "baby's father" in them about abusive partners. It is supposedly a survey about soda consumption in young children that satisfies hardly anything about the type of soda, which when we consider aspartame let's say, has elsewhere been related to irritability and making people feel shitty. R
          • Yeah, that was odd that they didn't have ANY data on what kind of soda it was-- one would at least want to know if it was caffeinated or not. (The authors sort of apologize for this in their discussion).

            On the other hand, really *detailed* information about the kind of soda wouldn't have been useful, largely for statistical reasons. There's a fair amount of literature on the relationship between artificial colors/flavors/preservatives and ADHD. And if you look at that literature, they tend to lump all of

      • I agree with you. This study doesn't prove anything and is complete failure. It doesn't deserve to make its way on /. unless it is to discuss how bad studies can lead media to make false conclusions from thin data and no clue.

        OK, let's be honest now: did you actually read the effing article? Or just the summary?

        If the answer is "yes" to question #1, please be good enough to explain how you would change the study design to make it better.

    • I was going to post this, but Anonymous got here first. Those guys are everywhere these days!

      Anyway, I agree. It seems highly likely that the soda consumption we're seeing here is a symptom of other parental and social factors rather than a cause in its own right.

    • It could be that bad parenting causes both the soda and the bad behavior.

      Agreed. Bad parenting is an obvious confounder. The other obvious confounder is low socio-economic status. (Picture a devoted-but-overwhelmed mother who is raising her kid in a food desert, with limited income, bad schools, high crime rates, and no support from Dad... and who is perhaps not too well educated about healthy food choices to begin with).

      So let's look at the article: The authors made a valiant attempt to statistically correct for factors like this. They looked at a long list of confounders (

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It could be the soda, though sugary foods have previously been studied in aggregate without finding any significant effect on children.

    My suspicion? Bad parenting. Parents which don't care, which are handing their kids soda and an iPad instead of doing their jobs. Then the kids' behavior grows increasingly worse as they act out, attempting to draw the attention they need. In this case two sodas per meal (nobody drinks soda for breakfast) is a proxy that should be screaming "these are really bad parents."

    • So sugar doesn't affect the kids. Maybe it is carbonation. American beer has loads of carbonation and causes anger issues. European beer has less carbonation (and more flavour) causes less anger issues.

      Let's ban carbonated drinks. /sarcasm}

      • American beer has loads of carbonation and causes anger issues. European beer has less carbonation (and more flavour) causes less anger issues.

        Clearly, you have never been to a European football/soccer game.
    • by roc97007 (608802)

      > (nobody drinks soda for breakfast)

      Please tell my wife that. She pops a can of Pepsi right after dressing in the morning. It makes my stomach churn a little watching her. (I don't drink sodas at all (green tea is my morning beverage), and can't even imagine having one first thing in the morning.) She says it's caffeine and sugar in an easily handled container -- the perfect food. Gag.

      Wife and daughter together average four to six cases a month. It's a chore to get them to police their cans, and wh

  • Great (Score:5, Funny)

    by Longjmp (632577) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @10:42AM (#44593631)

    Of course, this study didn't find out what types of soda the children had consumed.

    Another study finds that living children are 100% more likely to "destroy things belonging to others, get into fights, and physically attack people" than dead children.

    cheez.

    • by MyHair (589485)

      Of course, this study didn't find out what types of soda the children had consumed.

      Another study finds that living children are 100% more likely to "destroy things belonging to others, get into fights, and physically attack people" than dead children..

      My study shows that kids and parents who lie about their soda consumption also lie about their destructive and aggressive behavior.

  • by Twinbee (767046) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @10:48AM (#44593685) Homepage

    drank more than four soft drinks per day

    Confusingly, in the title and elsewhere, the word 'soda' is used. A soft drink isn't necessarily a soda/carbonated/fizzy drink. In other words, a soft drink may be non-fizzy. That makes the summary at least somewhat ambiguous.

    • If you look at the linked pdf, you discover that they used the term "soft drink" in the title of the paper, but then make it clear later in the paper that they studied sodas. The fact of the matter is that in most usage, "soft drink" and "soda" are synonyms. The problem is that both words are somewhat ambiguous. "Soft drink" originally meant any non-alcoholic drink (probably excepting milk and water, but I am not sure on that as I was not alive when this usage was common). "Soda" (as a reference to a bevera
    • Some areas use the term "soft drink" or "cold drink" to describe what any sensible person would refer to as a "coke". Because these beverages bubbliness has nothing to do with any alkaline with sodium in it, I would argue that soda is no more appropriate than those three terms or "pop". Carbonated drink, or fizzy drink both seem quite reasonable.

      • by Immerman (2627577)

        coke. noun -
        1) a rocky carbon-rich fuel used in high-temperature furnaces such as for iron-working
        2) slang for cocaine
        3) a trademarked line of carbonated beverages produced by the Coca-Cola corporation

        Only (3) is at all relevant to the discussion, and you'd better believe you'd be inviting no end of trouble if you use it in a generic fashion, especially if you're using it in a potential criticism of the consumption of such beverages.

        Certainly the "carnonated/fizzy drink" might be accurate, but would also ap

  • by Duncan J Murray (1678632) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @11:04AM (#44593771) Homepage

    This article is a troll for scientists.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation [wikipedia.org]

  • It's those cheapass parents who bought storebrand sodapops, which taste like santorum. The kids understandably went ballistic 'cause they wanted a drink with some reasonable taste quality.

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      It's those cheapass parents who bought storebrand sodapops, which taste like santorum. The kids understandably went ballistic 'cause they wanted a drink with some reasonable taste quality.

      Right, because a different label makes them taste so much better. Sorry, they all taste like carp to me. The only difference appears to be in the effectiveness of the advertising.

  • by Smokey Behr (2940937) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @11:09AM (#44593803)
    The problem with the survey can be found in the results section of the Abstract. They oversampled males by +4, and 51% of the families were Black. This isn't a soda/soft drink issue; it's a parenting/cultural issue, which is mentioned, but essentially glossed over when you start delving into the "study". The families were already "in the system", as they were part of an ongoing study, which tells me that there were already parenting and cultural issues that go deeper than the family's diet.
    • Political Correctness implicitly states that culture and race are the same thing. Of course, that's not really true, but the cowardly among PC types still stands stedfast to conflate the two. So, if you mention black culture, you will be chastised as a racist!

      • by StikyPad (445176)

        You just said they weren't the same thing, which is valid, and then went on to specify a culture using race, which is not. Just curious where you were trying to go with that.

        • PC types conflate culture and race. I for one do not. Culture and race are two entirely separate things. I was just illustrating that when you speak of black culture, there are assholes out there that derive power by stifling decent via dropping the "race card". Specifically the PC types.

  • "We have no information on what type of soft drinks were consumed, particularly whether they were regular or diet, sugar-sweetened or artificially sweetened, cola or noncola, and caffeinated or noncaffeinated,"

    Seriously? You have a bunch of factors which might be relevant, and you don't even fscking MEASURE them?

    (OK, "worst study ever" might be a bit of hyperbole, but it's pretty bad as studies that don't smack of Mengele go)

    • by Nutria (679911)

      Given all the problems with the "study", I smell agenda.

    • (OK, "worst study ever" might be a bit of hyperbole, but it's pretty bad as studies that don't smack of Mengele go)

      Do you have any information about the scientific quality of Mengele's studies? Of course his studies were highly immoral, but since there's no sign for any immorality in the study this article is about, that's irrelevant for your comparison.

  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @11:17AM (#44593859) Homepage

    The first sentence of the article is preposterous:

    When the US military tested PCP on volunteers in 1984, "some subjects became irritable, argumentative or negative under the conditions of social stress and demanding tasks." Now, a study published by researchers at Columbia, Harvard and the University of Vermont have found not-so-different results in children that do too much Dew.

    So soda is just as bad as PCP? Certainly not. Such hyperbole is reason alone not to read any further.

    I have an alternative theory: Parents who let their children drink soda have less self-control and discipline, and so do their children. Isn't that much more likely than the proposition that soda has the same side-effects as PCP? But that won't get hits.

  • Were Chris Brown and Rihanna in their dataset?
  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @11:30AM (#44593941)
    Pop is somewhat unhealthy, so good parents will limit their kid's intake of it. Bad parents don't care, so they'll let their kids have it.

    Is this accounted for in the study?
    • by roc97007 (608802)

      Some parents are themselves addicted to the stuff. I'm pretty sure that wasn't accounted for either.

  • by mark_reh (2015546) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @11:31AM (#44593945) Journal

    who drink soda 4 times or more per day is that they are able to do so because of a lack of parental supervision (plus a few because of extreme dental ignorance on the part of the parents). I think that that same lack of supervision leads to bad behavior in little kids. I don't think I'd blame the soda for bad behavior, though caffeine may be contributing to the problem.

  • "this study didn't find out what types of soda the children had consumed"
    WHAT?! What a pointless, useless study. Blame the sugar? Caffeine? Bubbles? Preservatives? The can or bottle?
  • Parents who aggressively control their kids' consumption of fizzy drinks will probably control the kid's misbehavior too.

  • I've been a heavy drinker for 50 years. I never went around attacking people or getting into arguments or randomly destroying shit just for kicks.

    I enjoy a few liters of diet coke every day. When I was younger, I drank a few 12-16 oz bottles of sugared pepsi, root beer, ginger ale, or cream soda just about ever day. Maybe a couple more in the summer time.

    IMHO, they're just poking at shit to see what the gullible will accept so that they can wring out some grant money from politicians pandering to their mind

    • by Nutria (679911)

      I enjoy a few liters of diet coke every day.

      Did I read that correctly? 3 liters of diet coke?

      More importantly, did you *write* that correctly?

  • Because it couldn't be that parents with bad habits (ie giving their kids crap soda to drink) wouldn't teach their kids other bad habits (like breaking stuff).

  • Lazy and/or poor parents using a cheap drink like Coke to stretch a grocery budget for their 5 year olds are also likely to be lazy/poor parents in other ways.

    There is also higher teen pregnancy, gang crime, teen homelessness, and teen suicide rates in low income neighborhoods/cities. More graffiti and vandalism too.

    But you are right - correllation does not equal causation. That phrase is basically a meme at this point.

    It should be obvious by now that for every person who falls on hard times because of soci

  • What if those children which area already prone to breaking things, need more sugar than the rest of the kids?
  • Nearly all sodas contain caffeine. Caffeine, like most psychoactive drugs, has effects proportional to body weight.

    A can of coke has about 40 mg of caffeine. For standard 180 lb adult, that gives you a nice little wake-me-up. But put that much drug in a 40lb kid, and you'll see the effects similar to a healthy adult slamming back 2 cans of Red Bull.

    Couple that with the lack of self-control of kids, and it's no wonder they're bouncing off the walls.

    Let a 40-lb kid have 4 cokes in a day? When's the last time

  • Sugar in the doses you find in coke and pepsi is like a stimulant, in many regards, giving a pronounced sugar rush to those more sensitive to sugar. This effect changes your behaviour unless you learn to counterbalance the effects it has on you. It is the same with anything stimulating. When it comes to things with the opposite effect, one needs to be aware of how their ability to control things can be inhibited so that lower levels of stimulation can then trigger greater responses not due to th

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