While the negative impacts of caffeinated soda on children’s physical health have been well documented, it remains unexplored if habitual caffeinated soda intake is associated with intellectual capacities in children. Here, we investigated the behavioral and neural correlates of daily consumption of caffeinated soda on neurocognitive functions including working memory, impulsivity, and reward processing. We rigorously tested the link between caffeinated soda intake and the neurocognitive functions by applying machine learning and hierarchical linear regression to a large dataset from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study (N=3,966; age=9-10 years). The results showed that daily consumption of caffeinated soda in children was associated with impaired working memory and higher impulsivity, and increased amygdala activation during the emotional working memory task. The machine learning results also showed hypoactivity in the nucleus accumbens and the posterior cingulate cortex during reward processing. These results findings have significant implications for public health recommendations.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience