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For many children, grabbing a soft drink at school seems like a quick fix for energy and nutrition. However, soft drinks contain a variety of ingredients that can be damaging to your child's health. According to a list of sugar in soft drinks from The University of Cincinnati, Clermont College, some popular soda drinks have over 40 grams of sugar per serving. Consumption of this much sugar can result in undesirable health effects, and parents should encourage alternatives to sugar-laden sodas for their children.
Consuming soft drinks can have a negative effect on your child's dental health. The American Dental Association explains that excess sugar intake, especially in sugared soft drinks, can damage the enamel on teeth 1. Bacteria feed off of sugar and form plaque on teeth. This can eventually lead to excess plaque buildup and cavities. If your child doesn't brush his teeth after a sugary drink, cavities can form, leading to tooth decay and gum disease.
- Consuming soft drinks can have a negative effect on your child's dental health.
- If your child doesn't brush his teeth after a sugary drink, cavities can form, leading to tooth decay and gum disease.
Sugar's Effects on Teens
Many parents see a difference in their child after she consumes a large amount of sugar. While some children are more affected than others, the link between consumption of sugar found in soft drinks and hyperactivity may have something to do with the fluctuating glucose levels they create in your child's body 2. Processed sugars found in soft drinks enter the bloodstream very quickly, explains MedlinePlus, the National Institutes of Health's comprehensive website of information about diseases and wellness. In some cases this sugar consumption can increase adrenaline in the body, which makes your child feel hyper or have increased energy.
- Many parents see a difference in their child after she consumes a large amount of sugar.
- In some cases this sugar consumption can increase adrenaline in the body, which makes your child feel hyper or have increased energy.
Some kids find themselves addicted to soft drinks, explains Gary J. Kaplowitz, DDS, MA, MEd in "An Update on the Dangers of Soda Pop" for Colgate Professional. This could be due to an addiction to the taste, the caffeine content, or the sugar content. All are contributing factors in why kids grab for a can of soda. Caffeine withdrawal can cause a myriad of symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, headaches, nausea, drowsiness and depression. KidsHealth states that children's caffeine withdrawal can be curbed if they slowly reduce their caffeine and sugar intake.
- Some kids find themselves addicted to soft drinks, explains Gary J. Kaplowitz, DDS, MA, MEd in "An Update on the Dangers of Soda Pop" for Colgate Professional.
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One possible effect of your child drinking soft drinks is weight gain 3. While most soft drinks are only around 150 calories per 12 ounces, if consumed with other foods, it can be easy for a child to gain weight 3. Missouri Families explains that the added sugar in most soft drinks is what can cause weight gain 3. If your child has a sedentary lifestyle or slow metabolism, she may see an increase in her weight if she consumes sugary soft drinks regularly.
Soft drink machines are everywhere, including parks, fast food restaurants and many schools. Teach your child how to make healthier choices with what she drinks. Provide drinks with less refined sugar, like 100 percent fruit juices. Teach her to avoid carbonated drinks and energy drinks that include large amounts of caffeine. Drinking low-fat milk, an alternative to soft drinks, provides vitamins A & B, calcium, magnesium and protein your child's body needs to grow. Bottled water is also a better alternative to sugar-laden soft drinks.
- Soft drink machines are everywhere, including parks, fast food restaurants and many schools.
- Teach her to avoid carbonated drinks and energy drinks that include large amounts of caffeine.
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- American Dental Association: Diet and Tooth Decay
- Medline Plus: Hyperactivity and Sugar
- Missouri Families: Soft Drinks and Weight Gain
- Higgins JP, Tuttle TD, Higgins CL. Energy Beverages: Content and Safety. Mayo Clin Proc. 2010;85(11):1033-1041. doi:10.4065/mcp.2010.0381
- Seifert SM, Schaechter JL, Hershorin ER, Lipshultz SE. Health Effects of Energy Drinks on Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults. Pediatrics. 2011;127(3):511-528. doi:10.1542/peds.2009-3592
- Terry-McElrath YM, OʼMalley PM, Johnston LD. Energy Drinks, Soft Drinks, and Substance Use Among United States Secondary School Students. J Addict Med. 2014;8(1):6-13. doi:10.1097/01.ADM.0000435322.07020.53
- Alsunni AA. Energy Drink Consumption: Beneficial and Adverse Health Effects. Int J Health Sci. 2015;9(4):468-474.
- Vo K, Neafsey PJ, Lin CA. Concurrent use of amphetamine stimulants and antidepressants by undergraduate students. Patient Prefer Adherence. 2015;9:161-172. doi:10.2147/PPA.S7460210.2147/PPA.S74602
- Bruckauf Z, Walsh SD. Adolescents' multiple and individual risk behaviors: examining the link with excessive sugar consumption across 26 industrialized countries. Soc Sci Med. 2018;216:133-141. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.08.029
- Benton D. The plausibility of sugar addiction and its role in obesity and eating disorders. Clin Nutr. 2010;29(3):288-303. doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2009.12.001
Julie Boehlke is a seasoned copywriter and content creator based in the Great Lakes state. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. Boehlke has more than 10 years of professional writing experience on topics such as health and wellness, green living, gardening, genealogy, finances, relationships, world travel, golf, outdoors and interior decorating. She has also worked in geriatrics and hospice care.