Annually, Americans guzzle gallons of soda despite the risks of dental problems and obesity. However, parents concerned about their children are encouraged to prevent their kids from sipping too much of the bubbly as research has linked soda consumption to violent behavior in teenagers.
According to the National Soft Drink Association (NSDA), the average American consumes more than 600 12-ounce servings per person year with much of that consumption being linked to teenagers. Other studies have shown that the average teenage male aged 13 through 18 drink three cans of soda a day while girls in the same age bracket drank more than two cans daily. Since soda is devoid of any nutritional value but brimming with sugar, chemicals and caffeine, the beverage ends up contributing to a myriad of dental health and general well-being issues including an uptick in violent behavior.
Theories surrounding the junk-food/aggression link have been floating around for decades, with the first true link being traced back to the "Twinkie Defense" in regards to a 1979 murder case. At that time, defense lawyers successfully proved that their clients change to a junkfood diet caused their client to have a "... diminished capacity to understand his actions," (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45035676/ns/health-childrens_health/#.TqrWE3Fbz7g). New research has come out validating the argument.
Researchers from the University of Vermont reviewed over 1,875 surveys completed by teens matriculating throughout 22 public schools in Boston, Massachusetts. The answers revealed that teens that reported high consumption (as defined as drinking five or more cans of full sugar soda a day), were not only more violent but also reported carrying either or gun or knife to school in the year prior to the survey in comparison to their low soda-consuming (four cans or less daily) counterparts. The research indicated that the frequent soda drinkers were 9 to 15 times more likely to act aggressively than the kids that drank less of the beverage.
The exact reasons why soda is linked to aggressive behavior have yet to be identified. However, since caffeine is categorized is a psychoactive drug and sugar is known for providing energy (both are the main ingredients in many sodas) kids with sensitivities to the compounds may be chemically influenced by the drinks. Researches also suggest that the reaction may be triggered by an underlying medical condition "...such as low blood sugar, may result in both high soda consumption and aggressive behavior," (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45035676/ns/health-childrens_health/#.TqrWE3Fbz7g). Whatever the cause, soda is not a smart choice.
This is not the first health issue to be linked to excessive levels of soda consumption. Every since the term "soda water" was originally coined in the late 17th century, the beverage has been linked to contributing to health problems such as:
In addition to the myriad of health problems caused by excess soda consumption, teeth are extremely vulnerable to dental problems because of the drink. When consumed, sodas deposit trace elements of sugars and carbohydrates onto teeth, the favorite feast of oral bacteria. The bacteria will band together to digest the simple sugars and form a community of dental plaque. While the sugars are consumed, the community will produce an acid as a byproduct; the main contributor to declined dental health. Additionally, malic and tartaric acids are common additives in soda, and in laboratory setting those compounds were found to erode tooth enamel.
The connection between soda consumption and a decline in health cannot be argued and that is why 1-800-DENTIST advises individuals to skip soda to save their teeth and well being. A visit to a dentist cannot only verify these facts, but a professional dental care provider can also provide tips on how to kick the soda habit once and for all.