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Should children be allowed to drink diet soda?

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 

I feel like this should be a no-brainer, but maybe it's not?


My sister- and brother-in-law both allow their children, ages 2.5 - 12, to drink diet soda (and, for that matter, tons of non-diet soda). There is no limit on how much. My husband and I both drink it as well, though have both stopped from time to time as we become too dependent on it! We have been telling our 3.5 year old that it's an adult drink. Well, just had a week-long vacation with the cousins, and turns out they are all drinking it, all the time. So, despite my opposition and disapproval, husband is offering diet soda to our son. He mainly does this in an effort to get him to turn a corner after a tantrum or when he wants me and I'm not available.

I feel like this is blatant disrespect of my rules, and feel like we should be parenting as a team. I feel like he should be able to be more creative and fun to get over tantrums instead of automatically turning to the forbidden fruit. But, that's beside the point and probably fodder for a separate thread.


What research/info is out there on children and diet drinks? I'm sure there is a ton, but you ladies are always a good source for good sources. I can make a good argument that sugary drinks are probably linked to childhood obesity, but diet drinks?


post #2 of 47

Diet drinks contain ASPARTAME. Which IMO is far worse for our little ones than sugar.

post #3 of 47

artificial sweeteners are forbidden here. So yeah, I'd be pissed if someone slipped diet soda to my kids!  Here's an article from just a couple days ago: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/29/diet-soda-weight-gain_n_886409.html

post #4 of 47

i don't drink diet soda myself. frankly, i'd rather "pay the price" of drinking sugared soft drinks (getting fat), than face unknown risks (cancer??) from drinking diet soda. 


i think you should give up your diet soda entirely. you and your husband. keep it out of your house, and then it won't be available as the forbidden fruit when your son has his tantrums.

post #5 of 47

I do allow organic soda with lower sugar content, as a treat. I *might* allow regular soda, to an older child, in some special circumstances. But diet soda???? No, no, no, NO way. Do your SIL and BIL know about artificial sweeterns and aspartame? Many assume that 'diet' anything is by definition healthier and better.

post #6 of 47
Originally Posted by mzpuff View Post

Diet drinks contain ASPARTAME. Which IMO is far worse for our little ones than sugar.

Agree. My kids have an occasional soda as a treat.. but a regular one.. not diet.
post #7 of 47

My son is 6 and has never had soda of any kind.  I offered some to him when he was 5 and we went to see "Toy Story 3" in the theater, as a special treat, and he said "No thank you.  Soda isn't for kids."  :)  


If he does ever have soda, it will be a once in a while special treat, and certainly not diet soda.  I can't imagine giving a child aspartame like that (his dad has given him yogurt a few times that had aspartame, but in general we don't keep foods with aspartame in the house, and at least yogurt has some nutritional content.  Diet soda has none whatsoever.)

post #8 of 47

Nope, I won't let my kids have diet pop. They have an occasional pop for a treat (so, they had some on the 4th of July). Usually, they drink water and milk. I sometimes make lemonade. We rarely buy juice. So treats = lemonade and juice. Pop = when we go out or major treat.


What about buying some juice that your dh can give your son as a 'treat'? My kids love the juice that comes in a can. It has the thrill of the can and none of the side effects of pop.


I think that the 'easiest' way to solve this is to simply not have it in the house. Then it's not there to offer. It's none to good for you and your husband. I've switched to drinking lightly flavored sparkling water (the brand is Talking Rain, but it's a pretty narrow distribution area, I think something like La Croix is more national.) It's sugar free (and no artificial sweeteners in the kind I get -- it's just bubbly water with a bit of lemon-lime flavor). My kids hate it, so it's all mine, and it has more benefits than pop!

post #9 of 47

Voice of dissent. Not a hill to die on. Diet soda is not the best, but neither is wine, potato chips, candy bars, or a dozen other items. Which we have on rare occasions, because they are treats. I deserve treats, and so do my kids. They are enjoyable, yummy, and fun, even if bad for you. We drink coca-cola. I drink about 1 inch about once a week, when I have a sweet tooth. Any more is just too much for me. But my kids ask, and I give them a glass, probably once or twice a month.


However, we just got back from a two week trip in Spain, driving in the Pyrenees. It was beautiful. However, finding a hotel with a fridge for homemade stuff, or even a grocer to even buy such stuff, was not always reasonable or practical. We were on vacation. We all drank a LOT more soda in the last two weeks than in the last year. Such is life. I am not going to ruin a whole vacation just to only have "pure" food enter my body, or my childrens bodies. I went with the flow.


The consequences were that when we got home, I heard a ton of requests for soda the first day back, a lot the second day, not so much the third day. Life is getting back to normal. Besides which, we were all thrilled to have typical danish rye bread with cucumbers, carrots, red peppers... we were happy to eat healthy again after so much restaurant food.

Originally Posted by porcelina View Post

So, despite my opposition and disapproval, husband is offering diet soda to our son. He mainly does this in an effort to get him to turn a corner after a tantrum or when he wants me and I'm not available.


 I think this needs to be addressed though. Doesn't matter if it is diet soda, wine, worms, heavy metal music, whatever... Giving a treat will not solve a tantrum or make you available. It does not solve the issue, and instead teaches your DS that having a tantrum or wanting you will supply him with sweet soda.

post #10 of 47

My understanding is that aspartame and the like are carcinogens.  I think the amount you'd have to ingest would be huge to be a real risk, but that's my basis for not having it in the house.  Many people, like a PP said, think "diet" equals "healthy."  My MIL, for one...she was unhappy with me because I said no to her giving our son (who was then 13 months) one of her diet popsicles.  She knows we are holding out on avoiding sugar and food color...she further said that only the red ones were "bad" food coloring...guess she didn't read the ingredients because red #40 is in most of that kind of stuff, regardless of the obvious color.


Soda in general is not in my house very often (maybe a couple times a month we buy a couple .25 cans at the grocery to go with pizza or whatever). 

post #11 of 47
Originally Posted by philomom View Post

Agree. My kids have an occasional soda as a treat.. but a regular one.. not diet.

Same here.  I don't drink diet anything and the kids definitely aren't. 


post #12 of 47

Diet soda is linked to weight gain.  Seriously!  Reasons why are still unknown.  


"At home" rules here are different from "out and about" rules.  At home, we let the girls drink "fizzy juice" when they bug me to buy it.  At restaurants, if DH and I are drinking pop, then we offer a sip to the girls, if it doesn't have caffeine.  We don't buy them their own, though if they asked I might let them have a little since we don't go out much.  Never diet soda.  So, the massive amounts of high fructose corn syrup and caffeine in regular pop and the artificial sweeteners and caffeine in the diet make soda pretty much off-limits. 


And besides, I think they'd rather have a peppermint candy instead, if given a choice.


(If it's the fizz you crave, perhaps getting used to fizzy water would help.  I never thought I would get used to it, but after 5 weeks stuck drinking it in Germany I found I actually craved it.  Then there was the beer....... nah, that wouldn't solve your problem!)

post #13 of 47

Yeah, you've got two separate problems here.  The rewarding a tantrum problem, and the aspartame problem.  For the tantrum, would your DH realize he is rewarding it if you pointed it out to him?  For the aspartame, just buy regular pop and that is no longer possible.



post #14 of 47
Thread Starter 

Yes, thank you ladies! This is all great motivation for us to kick our own habit! I like the idea of the slightly flavored fizzy water, will look into that. Sounds like a great alternative for all of us!


Just to clarify, this practice started while on vacation, and DS was given sips (maybe up to half) of DH's or cousins' diet sodas. Thanks again for all the suggestions and feedback!

post #15 of 47

to me juice and soda are almost the same thing. 


3.5 dd was way addicted to sugar so i would tell her it was not an appropriate drink for kids and she'd have a sip here and there. at that time i stopped drinking it too. 


what dd and i drink (which i find a happy medium) is a juice and some fizzy water so the sugar content is much reduced. and the fizzy water is nothing but carbonated water. 


though now that dd is older we both do kombucha. 


however the real issue here is dh and you coming to a happy medium. 


having said that i just remembered. dd from the age of about 16 months to about 20 months would have about 1 ounce or less of watered down pepsi from my neighbour. she just would not understand why it was such a big deal. she was 87 years old and an immigrant. i tried talking to her, but gave it up. she went to an alzheimer's home when dd turned around 20 months and never saw her again. dd still remembers her and the love she surrounded dd with. because she knew i didnt like it she made it a treat btw dd and her and would pretend to hide it behind by back. dd loved that game. dd STILL remembers her in GREAT detail and the culture she is drawn to is that neighbors culture more than the cultures she is born into. 

post #16 of 47

My kids are 7 and 9, and they are allowed regular pop. We don't have it in the house unless there's a special occasion, but they often order a root beer if we're at a restaurant. They have had diet pop was when it was the only immediate option available to them on a hot day... I'd rather them have a little bit of aspartame 3 or 4 times a year than become dehydrated, otherwise the answer is no.

post #17 of 47

i think diet soda is disgusting, i couldn't drink a can honestly. with regular soda i do not give it to them, but we do the seltzer water with juice or herbal teas.

post #18 of 47

We aren't big soda or juice drinkers and I avoid aspartame because it is a migraine trigger for me (and disgusting).  Maybe your husband has noticed that your son's tantrums seem to be linked to a need for a drink or food.  If that is the case then maybe he could grab a different quick and easy snack or drink for him that isn't so objectionable.

post #19 of 47

I don't buy diet pop but not because of carcinogens or anything like that.  Diet pop has, imo, a very distinct disgusting taste.  My kids do drink pop but it is the real stuff.

post #20 of 47
I drink diet coke, but Im an adult and I wouldnt let my kids drink it. I also wouldnt let kids drink soda with caffeine.
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