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Are Diet Drinks Making Your Kids Overweight?

Are Diet Drinks Making Your Kids Overweight?

Help your kids avoid excess weight by getting them to avoid drinks with these ingredients.

A millennial-targeted advertising campaign for diet soda featured actress Gillian Jacobs (Brita on the TV-com Community), who said a certain zero-calorie drink made her feel good and suggested her viewers adopt her POV: “Life is short...just do you.” These days, celeb-fueled advertisements, including less-than-subtle product placements in G- and PG-rated movies, have fueled the myth that sugar-free, no-calorie sodas can help avoid weight gain.

But research published in Pediatric Obesity suggests these artificially sweetened beverages aren’t helping young folks take in fewer calories and less added sugar. In fact, the study finds young people in the U.S. who regularly drink artificially-sweetened beverages consume 200 calories more per day and more added sugar than those who stick with water. And, if they drink both artificially-sweetened beverages and sugary drinks, they’re packin’ in 450 more calories a day than water drinkers.

To help your kids avoid excess weight, eliminate foods and beverages that contain saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame and sucralose from your home. And explain to your kids that intense, fake sweet flavors may make real sweet tastes in fruit seem unappealing, and unsweet foods, such as vegetables, downright repellant. That boosts their risk for overweight and obesity, as well as type 2 diabetes. It also makes it hard to play sports and sets ‘em up for serious health problems at a young age.

Medically reviewed in February 2020.

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