Are Sugar Free Drinks Safe for Kids?

Updated on January 23, 2010
U.A. asks from Arlington, TX
14 answers

My older kids drink 2-3 cups of sugar free 'soda' water each day. I've heard that the sugar-substitue, aspartame, might be unhealthy. Anyone know? Thanks in advance!!!

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answers from San Diego on

Aspartame can mimic the symptoms of MS. I know that sounds extreme but look up the effects of aspartame-its terrible. I would be careful especially if they are in their teen years when the hormone speed up and start interacting with what they are eating/drinking. I'm a bit of an alarmist when it comes to the topic of nutrition.

Take good care!

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answers from Chicago on

Hi there, U.,
I would do a lot of research on artificial sweeteners before giving them to a child. Aspartame is not the only risky one, none of them are very good for any of us, and kids' little bodies cannot process them well. If I were you, I would stick to giving your child watered-down juice, or water. Sugar is not the greatest, but the risk of having a drink with sugar (a natural substance) is nothing compared to that of artificial sweeteners.
Here's another link-

I just think the risk of ingesting artificial sweeteners, far outweighs any possible calorie or cavity-preventing benefits, but you will have to decide for your child until they can decide for themselves.


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answers from Pittsburgh on

I don't trust artificial sweetners at all. When I was in college I had an irregular heartbeat, sometimes it was fast, sometimes it was labored. Tests showed absolutely nothing wrong with me. One day I offered a friend a piece of sugar-free gum. She declined saying it did funny things to her heart. A lightbulb went on for me and I cut out all artificial sweeteners and was fine within a week. Today I won't even trust the new products that are derived from sugar or other natural sources. I just try to watch my sugar intake.

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answers from Jacksonville on

I don't KNOW, but I don't trust that it isn't unhealthy either. Another thing to consider though, is the citric acid that is certainly in those drinks (check the label... ). That stuff is horrible on their TEETH. It softens the enamel and contributes to decay and damaged enamel.

Plain water is the best... and what my kids drink 90% of the time.

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answers from Portland on

I'm pre-diabetic and my doctor and the nutritionist in the class I took said that our bodies react the same way to artificial sweeteners as they do to sugar. In a person at risk for diabetes consuming artificial sweetener will, just as sugar will, increase the risk for getting diabetes.

I also recently read that there are 6 teaspoons of sugar in 12 oz. of soda. We all need to eat less sugar. The only nutritional value of sugar is calories. When we consume empty calories we are displacing food with the nutrients we need. Those sodas, whether sweetened with sugar or an artificial sweetener, fill up the child who will then be less apt to eat sufficient healthy food. Sweet drinks and foods dull the appetite. Children especially need to eat food with high nutrient content so that they can grow strong and build smart brains. Also, eating sweetened foods or drinks make unsweetened food and drinks less appealing.

You can find good information by "googling" on the Internet.

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answers from Boston on

Years ago, my Dad had a friend who experienced crazy episodes of hallucinating and other weird symptoms. The guy thought he was certifiably going crazy. (Hallucinations like his arm was melting like wax or the tires and doors were flying off the car driving ahead of him.) This went on for a long time and no doctor could help. One day he had an episode after he ingested a diet soda and later sugar-free gum. A light bulb went off. Turns out he was allergic to aspartame. He did all sorts of research and learned all sorts of scary things about it. Not good for anybody, especially not children whose brains are still developing. Good luck!

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answers from St. Cloud on

Hellow U.! My dad nearly died from aspartame poisoning. He still has seizures if he inadvertantly drinks or eats something containing artificial sweetener. Not to scare you but he drank about the same amount of diet drinks that you said your kids do.

Even sugar is better than aspartame!


answers from Dallas on


Please do not let your children drink/eat anything that is "Sugar free". For the most part, anything that is sugar free has aspartame in it and this is Aspartame is, by far, the most dangerous substance on the market that is added to foods.Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious including seizures and death.(1) A few of the 90 different documented symptoms listed in the report as being caused by aspartame include: Headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss, and joint pain. I just had a friend who lost his wife last year suddenly. She had been in good health as far as we knew, but she drank diet products all day long. After researching they found out that she had aspartame poising. Water is better for them. My children have 1 soda (with table sugar) a week.

Hope this helps,
D. H.


answers from Gainesville on

I was looking for a good drink for my family that is refreshing and healthy... I started buying seltzer water and 100% grape juice. I mix about half of each and come up with an awesome tasting, healthy drink. i don't mind giving to my 2 year old because the water cuts back on the calories of the juice



answers from Memphis on

I like to try to stick the the grandparent rule...if they didn't eat it then we shouldn't eat it! Processed foods, and artificial sweeteners and flavors make me nervous, so better safe than sorry.



answers from Phoenix on

no way...i would never give my kids any of them. I do not have them either. Do your own research on the negative effects. I think it is so sad, but in about 10 years we are going to see some major health issues rising with teens due to overconsumption of artificial sweetners.



answers from New York on

aspartame is nasty stuff, and not just for kids. nobody should drink it. how about just some sparking water, add some fruit juice if you must.



answers from Dallas on

similar to what marda said... when your children (or anyone) consume that stuff, their bodies don't know it's sugar free and so their bodies react as if their body is consuming a sugar drink, which means that it releases all of the stuff the body needs to process the sugar. The body gets tricked and over time, tricking the body that much makes the body much more susceptible to things like diabetes.

i could keep all of that stuff away from your kids.