Is Diet Soda OK For Kids To Drink?

What is it about soda that makes kids go crazy? Something about the flavoring, the bubbles, or the fact that they're not allowed to drink it makes kids go crazy over the stuff. Soda isn't the healthiest drink option, but don't think that diet soda is any healthier either. Parents who wonder if diet soda is OK for kids to drink might want to take a closer look at a recent study.

While soda, especially the diet kind, might be tempting, it might be best for both parents and their children to limit their intake, or only save soda for special occasions. A recent study, published in the American Heart Association's journal, Stroke, found that a daily diet soda puts a person at three times the risk for dementia and stroke than someone who drinks less than one soda a week, according to USA Today. This study only emphasizes the point that soda, even diet soda, should be an occasional treat for children (and their parents) rather than part of their daily meals, even despite the fact that it might be healthier than non-diet sodas. It should be noted, however, that the study only followed people over the age of 45 years old — and found that while there was a correlation between soda and these diseases, the study was unable to prove causation. The study ultimately could not prove that soft drink consumption was the cause for the diseases.

"Low-calorie sweeteners have been proven safe by worldwide government safety authorities as well as hundreds of scientific studies and there is nothing in this research that counters this well established fact," the American Beverage Association said in a statement in response to the study.

But the question still stands — is diet soda OK for your kid to drink? It depends on what you read and who you ask, so it's probably best to speak to your child's pediatrician about how often they should have access to drinks like soda or diet soda.

While diet soda might not contain large amounts of sugar, according to Live Strong, diet soda typically has an excess of things, like sodium bonzoate and caffeine, that you might not want your child consuming in large amounts. The artificial sugars found in diet sodas also might not be the best for children, according to Parenting, and could effect their taste for the real stuff.

According to NPR, the evidence is really split when it comes to deciding whether diet soda consumption is bad for kids — some researchers point to diet sodas helping teens control weight, yet others link diet soda consumption to an unhealthy diet. At the end of the day, according to NPR, diet soda is not the worst thing kids can put in their bodies, but it certainly isn't the best, either.