While soda consumption has been linked to a rise in obesity in children, researchers from Columbia University, led by epidemiologist Shakira Suglia, claim that it weighs heavily on their behavior as well, citing the fact that those who drink four or more servings a day show increasing tendencies to more violent and anti-social actions. These include physical fighting, verbally abusing others and stealing or destroying property that does not belong to them.
The conclusions were reached after surveying the mothers of 3,000 five-year olds across the country (and eliminating other factors such as eating candy and watching violent TV programs, as well as sleep patterns).
“There was definitely dose response. With every increase in soda consumption, we saw an increase in behavioral problems, including the fact that children who drank as much as four servings per day were twice as prone to exhibit aggressive behavior than those who didn’t drink any soda,” stated Suglia.
At the same time she was forced to admit that because she and her colleagues relied solely on self-reporting by the moms, they were unable to “pinpoint the type of soda (regular vs diet) or exact serving sizes, though they speculated that the problems could be triggered by the sugar content, caffeine or even food coloring contained in the soft drinks. As a result the American Beverage Association has refuted the study as leaping to conclusions without any real scientific proof.