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The Sugar Series: Toxic Cocktail — What Soda Is Actually Doing To Our Kids

In this next installment of the Domestica Sugar Series, we’re going to discuss the effect sugar and caffeine have together.

A toddler’s twenty-pound body is doing it’s best to grow and develop and we’d have to be completely ignorant to think that the influence of 25 milligrams of caffeine and 6 teaspoons of sugar in just eight ounces of soda is a wise decision (and by the way, there’s even more caffeine if they’re drinking diet).

What would someone do if they saw me order a shot of espresso, pour six sugar packets in and then hand it to my toddler?  Hopefully call child services!  And yet many of us don’t hesitate to order our kids the “child’s size” soda that packs nearly the same amount of caffeine and sugar.

In her wildly acclaimed book Little Sugar Addicts, Dr. Kathleen DesMaisons points out that not only is caffeine a drug, it “contributes to sleep disturbances by blocking a brain chemical called GABA that is responsible for putting your brain to sleep. It is as if GABA has the job singing you a lullaby, and caffeine comes busting into the room and flips on the radio to hard rock.” Caffeine also affects a child’s urinary continence, making them more prone to wet the bed, and worst of all, causes an increase in serotonin receptors which affects your child’s impulse controls, making it harder for them to control their bodies and actions.

Dr. DesMaisons also quotes a study by German researcher Peter Witt. In 1984, Witt studied the effect of various drugs on spiders and found that caffeine drastically impacted the spider’s ability to form a web in the same way as LSD and amphetamine.¹ As you can see from the photos below, the spider on caffeine is spastic and disjointed.

This is your child's brain. This is your child's brain on soda.

We need to understand that the small body of a child handles sugar far differently than a larger adult. And in the example of soda, the super-concentrated hit of sugar and drug (caffeine) dishes out a double-whammy. Even if your child acts like an angel after having soda, it’s important to understand that their brain is affected and ultimately, soda can hinder their ability to learn, process, and develop. Tell me, is there really any reason to give a child a cup full of sugar, caffeine and artificial colorings? I mean, an honest-to-god good reason?

But while I’m at it — is there any good reason for any of us to drink this stuff? The soda company takes your money and all you get in return are empty calories and toxic stress on your internal organs. Sounds to me like you’re getting seriously ripped off.

Next in the Domestica Sugar Series, I’ll bring you a video blog and we’ll discuss how you should go about kicking the soda habit for good!

Domestically Yours,
Natasha Kay

¹Peter Witt and Jerome Rovner (1982). Spider Communication: Mechanisms and Ecological Significance. Princeton University Press. ISBN 069108291X.

Discussion

4 thoughts on “The Sugar Series: Toxic Cocktail — What Soda Is Actually Doing To Our Kids

  1. Great post Tash. We really do need to set healthy examples for our children, thanks for the reminder. I love your passion about living healthy!

    Posted by Melissa | November 22, 2011, 6:46 am
  2. No, there is NO reason to drink that stuff. Our kids have never had a soda (ages 14 and 9). Years ago I had one a week (our son was 8 at the time and always chastised me for it). Now I probably average one a year. My 14 yr old son actually asked me to email his science teacher as he is concerned about the fact that she brings in 4 sodas a day. We use Fizz Tabs as a healthy alternative and he wants to take her one to try, but is afraid to do it without my asking her first. He said he also argues with his best bud who pours some red powder chemical into his water bottle, or something like that.
    I find when the adults eat healthy, and we talk about healthy choices, our children become “products” of that lifestyle and they naturally start to educate others. Not many kids know what a “xenoestrogen” or “petrochemicals” are – but my kids do. They constantly read labels…what a blessing that they have started so young. I am proud of them…can you tell? (LOL)

    Posted by Rita S | December 5, 2011, 6:44 pm
    • I LOVE this, Rita! It’s so encouraging when we see our children lead by example with their peers. Great job! 🙂

      Posted by Natasha Kay | December 6, 2011, 7:24 am

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