Overconsumption of soda has long been said to cause juvenile obesity. However, this may not be the only negative effect that sweetened beverages have on children, as a recent study featured on TIME says that soda may be linked to behavioral problems in toddlers and preschoolers.

According to researchers, 43 percent of the five-year old children involved in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study had one soda a day, while four percent drank four or more servings daily. Even after data was adjusted to take into account other factors such as parental demeanor and diet, there still seemed to be a relationship between soda consumption and behavioral issues, which include getting into fights and destroying other people’s belongings.

Researchers believe that the ingredients found in soda may be triggering the change in behavior. While it is still too early to say which of them is the culprit, caffeine, which other studies have previously revealed to cause certain hormonal changes, and sugar, which may cause overstimulation when consumed in high amounts, may be to blame.

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This is not to say that drinking soda directly causes children to become uncontrollably aggressive. Parents should train their kids to pick healthier alternatives and to consume everything in moderation. Natural fruit juices, milk, and water are good choices, as these can satiate thirst better than artificially-sweetened beverages. Sodas can be consumed once in a while, but only in small amounts and not on a daily basis.

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(Photo by Aidan via Flickr Creative Commons)

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