Saturday, September 30, 2006
Soft Drinks/Sugar Linked to Behavioral and Mental Problems in Teens
Their study of more than 5,000 Norwegian 15- and 16-year-olds showed a clear and direct association between soft drink intake and hyperactivity, and a more complex link with other mental and behavioral disorders.Interestingly, teens who drank no soda had a higher rate of mental problems than moderate drinkers. But, heavy drinkers had the highest rate of problems.
They surveyed the students, asking them how many fizzy soft drinks with sugar they had a day, and then questions from a standard questionnaire used to assess mental health.
Those who drank no soft drinks at all were more likely than moderate drinkers to have mental health symptoms, the researchers said. But those who drank the most -- more than six servings a week - had the highest scores.The researchers acknowledged "it was possible that other substances in the soft drinks, such as caffeine, were to blame for the symptoms, and they did not check other possible sources of refined sugar in the children's diets."
For hyperactivity, there was a direct linear relationship -- the more sodas a teen drank, the most symptoms of hyperactivity he or she had.
The worst problems were seen in boys and girls who drank four or more soft drinks a day. Ten percent of the boys and 2 percent of the girls drank this much.
During my childhood, my mother always considered soda pop bad for children. Whatever, her true reasons were she would tell us that it would stunt our growth and we would be short, like the kids across the street. The kids across the street were short. Of course, their parents were short also. But being athletically inclined, we all drank mild, orange juice and some Kool Aid in the summer. We were allowed pop at restaurants.
This study from UNC Chapel Hill shows more of the dangers of excessive pop consumption.
I see this in my children and their friends. When my daughter started playing basketball in the third grade with her best friend, my daughter was about an inch taller than her friend. Now, two years later, my daughter stands a full head taller. Once, her friend's father told me that they didn't drink a gallon of milk in a week. We go through about 4 gallons a week at mine. I do not keep soda pop in my house but allow them to drink it when we're out, just like Mom.
- Overall calories from sweetened beverages were up 135 percent.
- Overall, Americans got 38 percent fewer daily calories from milk.
- Americans now get an average of 144 calories a day from sugar-sweetened soft drinks and only 99 calories from milk.
- For young people aged 2-18, milk fell from 13.2 percent of total calories to 8.3 percent, and soda consumption doubled.
- Older Americans also drank more sodas. Those aged 40-59 increased soft drink Intake from 2percent to 5 percent. Among people 60 or older, consumption rose from nearly 1 percent to 3 percent.
Part of the problem is that if we decrease our milk intake, our bone growth suffers. Most dairy supplies 75percent of calcium in our diet and we need that to build strong bones. Also, most teens are not getting enough milk.
I will make an unpaid, unsolicited plug for Ovaltine. My father got me started on it when I was a kid. It makes milk taste like a chocolate malt but has more nutritional value that other chocolate syrups and other powders. My kids drink their milk straight or with Ovaltine. No other flavoring will do. I once bought a box of Nestle Quick and ended up throwing it away after a couple of years.
As far as the mental problems go, I've felt that my siblings and mysfelf are all half nuts. Maybe the milk kept us from becoming completely nuts.
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