Some children like to drink soda, but this habit, in addition to being bad for their health, could portend poor management of their alcohol consumption as adults. This is what emerges from a study carried out by South Korean scientists.
What is the connection between caffeinated sodas and alcohol? A priori none. However, excessive consumption of the former during childhood would lead to greater consumption of alcohol in adulthood.
Greater alcohol consumption and less working memory
South Korean scientists gathered a cohort of 2,092 children aged 9 to 10 years old. They were observed from a cerebral point of view, by recording their brain activity, while they were carrying out different tasks.
According to the researchers, “Results showed that high impulsivity and low working memory were significantly associated with daily consumption of caffeinated sodas..
An impact on the anterior cingulate cortex
In addition to these initial findings, the researchers also say they noticed different brain activity in children who regularly drink this type of caffeinated soda. For example, when performing the impulse control task, daily drinkers showed lower activity in a brain region called the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC).
“Reduced activity in this brain region is frequently observed in children affected by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but also by people suffering from substance use disorders.” they add.
A “gateway” effect to alcohol?
Finally, experts found that children who drank caffeinated sodas daily were, a year later, twice as likely to have drank alcohol. For the lead author of this study, Mina Kwon, from the Department of Psychology at Seoul National University, the results “suggest that daily consumption of caffeinated soda in children is predictive of near-future substance use. A possible explanation is that the substances contained in caffeinated soda (caffeine and sugar) could induce a toxicological effect on the brain, making the individual more sensitive to the effects of harder drugs such as alcohol..
A problem of education and supervision
Comments supported by Professor Woo-Young Ahn, director of the computational clinical sciences laboratory at Seoul National, who adds that the results illustrate the gateway hypothesis, explained by the fact that a “Frequent consumption of caffeinated soda could indicate a higher risk of starting substance abuse in the future“.
For Alexandra Murcier, the results of this study are consistent. “Generally, when a person has an addict profile, they are addicted to several substances, so this inclination towards alcohol does not surprise me. On the other hand, what deserves to be emphasized is that this type of caffeinated drinks are not intended for children, and this raises the question of the education and supervision of these children. she concludes.
In fact, we cannot exclude a confounding factor which would limit the scope of this study: poor educational supervision could explain why children drink caffeinated sodas from the age of 9-10 and alcohol a year later. late…