"Sugar linked with mental problems in Norway study",
September 28, 2006,
Oslo teens who drank the most sugary soft drinks also had more mental
health problems such as hyperactivity and distress, Norwegian
researchers reported on Thursday.
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
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.
The teens who reported skipping breakfast and lunch were among the
heaviest soft drink consumers, Dr. Lars Lien and colleagues at the
University of Oslo found.
"There was a strong association between soft drink consumption and
mental health problems among Oslo 10th graders," they wrote in their
report, published in the American Journal of Public Health.
"This association remained significant after adjustment for social,
behavioral and food-related disorders."
Most of the students said they drank anywhere between one and six
servings of soft drinks per week.
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
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.
The researchers said 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
But they said many of the teens were clearly drinking too many sugary
drinks. Norway's recommended intake is 10 percent of the day's total
calories from sugar and the researchers said at least a quarter of the
boys were getting this much from soft drinks alone.
"One simple and effective measure to reduce soft drink consumption in
this age group would be to remove soft drink machines from schools and
other public places where adolescents gather," they wrote.