Is it OK if my Child Drinks Clear Soda? Is it Better for You? Dr. Raj Dives in
Parents wonder, are clear sodas really healthier than dark sodas? It looks clear, it’s not brown, it smells like lemon-lime…it must be OK, right? Not so much.
During routine yearly checkups, we ask about your child’s nutrition including soda consumption. When I ask this, parents often respond, “no doc, we don’t give him/her soda," but add that if they do drink soda, it's clear, such as Sprite, 7up, Sierra Mist), etc. But parents wonder, are clear sodas really healthier than dark sodas? It looks clear, it’s not brown, it smells like lemon-lime…it must be OK, right? Not so much. Let’s look into this a little further.
So first let’s first start with the simple fact that clear sodas are still soda! We discourage sodas for several reasons but mainly for the sugar content. For example, a can of Sprite has 38 grams of sugar and a can of Coke has 39 g of sugar. So you can see there’s not much of a difference between the two. That’s about 9 teaspoons of sugar in one can!!
Studies show that kids who drink more than 10% of their daily calories from added sugar are more likely to have abnormal cholesterol levels and a higher chance of getting Type 2 diabetes.
The other main reason we discourage sodas is the caffeine content. It is true that clear sodas do not have caffeine. However, there are many other options for a hydrating drink without sugar such as good old-fashioned water. If your child does not like water, try adding fresh fruit or mint or from time to time try a zero-sugar sparkling water to satisfy that craving for “fizz.”
So what about diet sodas? Most experts would recommend that children should avoid diet sodas in kids. Many diet sodas are sweetened with artificial sweeteners and long terms effects are still not clear.
There you have it! Clear soda is not a healthy choice for a drink. Opt for water!
Dr. Raj was raised in Baltimore, Maryland. She attended college at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. After graduating medical school at University of Maryland School of Medicine, she went on to complete her pediatric residency at University of Medicine and Dentistry, New Jersey Robert Wood Johnson Hospital (now part of the Rutgers System). After residency, she moved to Texas which she has considered home since 2005.
Dr. Raj has worked in the DFW Metroplex for over 13 years. During this time she served as a lead physician and Associate Medical Director for several outpatient offices. As a leader at her prior organization, she worked to ensure the delivery of high-quality care to children across the metroplex. She has been a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Texas Medical Association (TMA), Texas Pediatric Society and Collin-Fannin County Medical Society. Dr. Raj has a passion for preventative medicine. She believes that good health is a culmination of five factors, four of which are lifestyle choices— nutrition, exercise, safety, emotional well-being and genetics/other. She believes in starting these healthy habits from a young age and enjoys spending time discussing these topics with families.
When not in the office, Dr. Raj enjoys spending time with her family including her husband, two sons and dog, Lucky. She loves sports and will cheer for Dallas teams—as long as they are not playing her beloved Baltimore Orioles and Ravens! She was thrilled when her #16 seed UMBC beat the #1 seed in the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball tournament! She loves baking, traveling, getting in her daily steps, and relaxing with a good book.
Dr. Raj feels there is no job more important, more difficult or more rewarding than that of being a parent. Every child, family and situation is unique. She looks forward to getting to know your family and partnering with you in order to deliver quality healthcare to your child."