Should children be allowed to drink diet soda? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 47 Old 07-10-2011, 08:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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?

 


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#2 of 47 Old 07-10-2011, 08:13 PM
 
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Diet drinks contain ASPARTAME. Which IMO is far worse for our little ones than sugar.


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#3 of 47 Old 07-10-2011, 08:26 PM
 
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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


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#4 of 47 Old 07-10-2011, 08:48 PM
 
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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.


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#5 of 47 Old 07-10-2011, 09:24 PM
 
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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.


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#6 of 47 Old 07-10-2011, 09:43 PM
 
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Quote:
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.
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#7 of 47 Old 07-10-2011, 09:45 PM
 
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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.)


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#8 of 47 Old 07-10-2011, 11:42 PM
 
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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!


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#9 of 47 Old 07-11-2011, 02:33 AM
 
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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.
 

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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.

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#10 of 47 Old 07-11-2011, 05:46 AM
 
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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). 


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#11 of 47 Old 07-11-2011, 07:24 AM
 
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Quote:
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. 
 

 

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#12 of 47 Old 07-11-2011, 08:01 AM
 
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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!)


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#13 of 47 Old 07-11-2011, 08:14 AM
 
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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.

 

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#14 of 47 Old 07-11-2011, 09:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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!


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#15 of 47 Old 07-12-2011, 02:57 AM
 
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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. 


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#16 of 47 Old 07-12-2011, 02:48 PM
 
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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.


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#17 of 47 Old 07-12-2011, 03:21 PM
 
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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.


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#18 of 47 Old 07-12-2011, 06:13 PM
 
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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.

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#19 of 47 Old 07-12-2011, 09:07 PM
 
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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.

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#20 of 47 Old 07-12-2011, 10:35 PM
 
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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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#21 of 47 Old 07-14-2011, 08:06 AM
 
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Absolutely not. I won't even consume diet soda and soda is not a drink for children, diet or otherwise, IMHO. If DS (3 yo) asks about soda, he's told that it's just like coffee, beer, and wine...something that mommy and daddy can drink, but it's not for kids. He gets that. He's never had soda of any kind and I'm hoping to keep it that way for a while yet. He drink water and milk (and occasionally apple juice at Sunday School)...that's it. No juice or soda in my house.

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#22 of 47 Old 07-14-2011, 08:13 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midnightwriter View Post

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.


This!

My kids have had sprite from time to time.. VERY irregularly.. but I can't handle diet soda (It gives me horrible headaches), so there's NO way I'd let my kiddos drink it.
 

 


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#23 of 47 Old 07-14-2011, 11:03 PM
 
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My kids' orthodontist has really ground it into their heads that regular drinking of soda, diet or not, is bad for their teeth because of the amount of acid. He shows all his patients photos of kids teeth who drank too much soda. (It's kinda of like those drunk driving videos we all saw in drivers ed). He also gives them lectures explaining that because their parents are paying a lot of money to straighten their teeth, they have a responsibility to take care of them, and part of that is not drinking soda all day every day.

 

He told them if they wanted to have a soda occasionally when doing something special, that was fine. But that it shouldn't be something they were drinking every day or their just wasn't any point in straightening their teeth. 

 

May be you could help your DH brainstorm some other ideas for those situations. If rather than saying "no,"  you say "why don't we try this instead" it might go better.

 

Good luck

 

 


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#24 of 47 Old 07-15-2011, 01:54 AM
 
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I used to drink a lot of diet soda. I regret that now. I know that at the time, I'd notice an odd lightheadedness/spacey feeling after drinking it, yet I refused to believe that aspartame or sucralose could possibly be allowed in our food if it was bad for us. Sigh. When I was 2 months into nursing my dd, I began reading more about it, and stopped.

 

I'll drink some soda with sugar in it once and awhile. Not healthy per se but far better than consuming a sketchy chemical that has not even been in our food system for that long. I love carbonation, so soda water with a bit of real juice is my go to bubbly indulgence.

 

As for my dd, she tried soda water/juice once and cried!

 

"Don't like bubbles!" she said. Fewf. I'm glad about that! Of course I've made it clear to all of the people who might give her "diet" anything that I am not OK with that as it's linked to various negative issues in health and even possible problems with brain development in young children.   

 

Sister in law gave her diet cranberry juice once at a party and I gently traded it for regular apple, saying simply that I don't trust aspartame.

 

In your case OP, I'd try to gently offer some relevant reading to your husband, and just point out that the chemicals are just that, and that real sugar is not ideal, but is less sketchy. Even better, get the soda pop out of the house and try the soda water/juice idea. :-)


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#25 of 47 Old 07-15-2011, 08:27 AM
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I think aspartame and the other major artificial sweeteners are safe and healthier than HFCS or sugar, but there are other things in cola I wouldn't want my kids to have. 

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#26 of 47 Old 07-17-2011, 03:34 PM
 
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We just pulled soda out of the house- largely because my oldest was getting totally hooked.  We didn't have diet soda ever, because we prefer regular, and I don't like the chemistry set of diet.  However, we have now relegated soda to an out and about occasional treat, and not something we keep in the house.  I have found a brand of seltzer water that comes in cans, and we have that handy, and the rest of the time options are water, milk, or herbal tea (I steeped mint tea this morning with a little hibiscus in it- very refreshing in this hot weather) 

 

My wake up call- in addition to just plain knowing better- my oldest son age 3- who didn't have soda or anything of the sort- that was only something my oldest child (9) had access to occasionally, started developing signs of type 1 diabetes onset.  His blood sugars are still running a little high, but we're in a wait and see pattern according to our pediatrician because his A1C is perfect.  The whole thing though made me realize that when I married DH I let MY standards slide in terms of healthy eating, and DD lost a lot of her healthy habits.  The boys have grown up only knowing the way their dad eats/lives, and they don't have as healthy a lifestyle as DD and I did before I married DH.  

 

Since we are currently separated as DH has gone ahead to our new home with work and the kids and I are following, I took the opportunity to a. break bad habits now without his influence and b. make it clear that DH is going to keep his bad habits out of the house.  If he wants to eat junk he has to go out for it and not bring it home. When he realized that it really does have an effect on the kids, he agreed.  I can't make him choose the things I do, or that I think are important for the kids for himself, but I do have every right to set boundaries to protect their health. 

 

I am not super protective/healthy, I have no problem with occasional treats, but when those treats become tools and lifestyle patterns there is a big problem.  You DH needs to find better ways to deal with your child without bribing him with unhealthy junk as that is simply setting up lifelong bad habits for your child. 

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#27 of 47 Old 07-17-2011, 04:41 PM
 
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DH and I both don't drink soda, so it's not an issue. If DD were to ever ask, based upon seeing family or friends drink it, I'd just say no, we don't drink that. There's plenty of other things that are like that in our life (like not eating meat) and she already understands that different people eat and drink different things.
I agree with the other posters who have suggested that you and DH switch to a healthier option for yourselves. Win-win situation IMO.
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#28 of 47 Old 07-18-2011, 11:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Great responses, everyone! I especially like the suggestions for alternative drinks that we can have in the house, particularly as DH and I wean off the soda! We have already eliminated the soda from the house since we got back from the vacation. It is a bit of a transition for us, but just the fact that we crave it tells us we have been addicted!

 

I got a GREAT book from the library for anyone interested  -- Little Sugar Addicts: End the Mood Swings, Meltdowns, Tantrums, and Low Self-Esteem in Your Child Today, by Kathleen DesMaisons. She talks about sugar sensitivity, the processes that go on in the brain for people sensitive to sugar (like DH, DS and me), and how to get buy in from your child to eat right. It suggests above all else including more protein in meals and snacks to stave off the up and down swings induced by sugar (and artificial sugar).

 

Now, if I could just get DS back on a decent sleep schedule!!!


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#29 of 47 Old 07-18-2011, 02:58 PM
 
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To me, this is SO a hill to die on.  We don't drink soda (it's culturally not something that is significant in dh's culture and I just don't drink it much) and dd (9) has never had soda pop.  I truly believe that soda pop (even diet because it causes a whole other host of health problems) is the #1 culprit for health issues in America.  It is STRICTLY forbidden in our household for children and rarely ever consumed by adults.  I would have a very stern discussion with anyone who allowed my dd to drink soda.

 

We have cases and cases of sparkling mineral water, though.

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#30 of 47 Old 07-18-2011, 03:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post

 

We have cases and cases of sparkling mineral water, though.



This is a really great idea.  Where I live, the tap water isn't potable so it is easier to grab a can/bottle etc in so many situations.  I've switched to keeping tons of bottled water, lots of canned sparkling water and so on around. 

 

 

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