Does Soda Stunt Your Growth? Side Effects Of Soda On Kids & Ways To Limit It!

Share this article:

Sodas contain caffeine and added artificial sugars, which impact a growing child in many ways. Drinking sodas over the recommended amount will cause your child various health issues, including diabetes, depletion of nutrients and vitamins, disturbed stomach balance, low bone density, and dental hygiene. In addition, caffeine in sodas can make your child addicted to this beverage and cause dehydration, adrenal exhaustion, and other issues. It’s essential to limit your child’s soda intake per week and teach them the importance of giving up soda in their life.

For some reason, when someone says they let their growing kid drink a cup of coffee, it comes as a shock to almost everyone who knows its side effects.

But when it comes to telling the same people that they let their kids consume soda (caffeinated beverage), then it’s considered normal. Soda contains caffeine, and any form of it isn’t suitable for growing children. 

So, when you let your child consume soda, you’re also unconsciously making them get addicted to caffeine in the process.

But is caffeine the only issue here? How does drinking soda affect the growth of a child? What role does caffeine play in soda for a growing child, and how seriously does it affect your child? Let’s find out!

How caffeine in soda affects growing kids?

A growing child shouldn’t drink coffee because it contains caffeine. Unfortunately, most parents tend to forget the soda they are so readily giving their children also contains caffeine.

Depending on the different age groups and body weight your child might belong to, their caffeine intake is limited per day.

Daily caffeine consumption:

AgeCaffeine per day
4 – 645 mg
7 – 962.5 mg
10 – 1285 mg
12 – 18100 mg ( equivalent to two or three cans of soda)

As a measure, you should know that a healthy adult should not have more than 400 milligrams of caffeine in a day.

Many food items and beverages such as soda contain caffeine, which also accounts for the total caffeine consumed in a day. Canada even recommends their preschoolers not get more than 45 mg of daily caffeine intake.

The amount of caffeine all the popular soft drinks contains:

A can (12 oz) (335 ml)Caffeine
Coke 34 mg
Diet coke46 mg
Pepsi38 mg
Mountain Dew54 mg
Red bull 114 mg
Monster120 mg

Caffeine is a stimulant defined as a drug that stimulates the central nervous system making one alert and increasing their attention span if consumed in a controlled manner.

For kids, the impact of caffeine from sodas is terrible in a lot of ways that might actually hinder their growth as well:

  • Caffeine is a diuretic which means it makes one pee a lot. If your kid consumes a lot of soda and goes beyond their suggested intake of caffeine, they’ll be peeing a lot. And when they go out to play, they would be sweating a lot too. All of this results in dehydration if your kid doesn’t drink plenty of water.
  • Increased amounts of caffeine can be addicting and create physical dependence. It upsets the average balance of neurochemistry in the developing brains of children.
  • Caffeine stimulates the adrenal gland without providing the nourishment it needs.
  • If taken in large amounts, caffeine can lead to adrenal exhaustion.

Caffeine might not mainly be a factor in stunting the growth of your child. But after going through its side effects on a growing child, you can very well understand the potential impact of caffeine and the damage it might cause to your child’s growth.

But caffeine is only a tiny part of the more significant issue. So let’s take a look at other things in the soda which impact your growing child!

Side effects of soda on growing kids

A young Asian boy is sitting down drinking soda happily. He's drinking too much soda throughout his childhood and it's affecting his natural growth.
  • Zero nutritional value: Any soda in the market doesn’t contain any nutritional value and has zero health benefits. It’s high in calories and sugar, so growing kids who drink a lot of soda battle obesity. There’s a lot of artificial sweeteners added to these beverages, which only result in overweight children.
  • Fills up stomach: Sodas are also known as carbonated drinks. They fill you up quickly, leaving no room to eat healthy or nutritional food. It affects the appetite of growing children and hampers their balanced diet.
  • Depleted levels of calcium: Growing children who consume soda also report depleted levels of calcium affecting their bone growth. People who carry children in the future face a lot of problems if they were addicted to drinking a lot of soda in their teenage years.
  • Affected dental hygiene: The amount of sugar level in the soda impacts dental hygiene and also increases the blood sugar levels of the children who love to drink it. It causes the severe issue of tooth decay, cavities, and reduction of tooth enamel—the acids in soda speed up the process of wearing off tooth enamel in your mouth.
  • Various health issues: Pediatricians are finding many health issues in children who didn’t control their consumption of drinking soda. These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglyceride levels, increased blood sugar levels, heart disease, and stroke.
  • Brain toxin: You think diet sodas are better than regular sodas and don’t contain as much sugar, but it’s worse for your health. Aspartame is a potent brain toxin and endocrine disrupter.
  • MSG: There’s citric acid in sodas which contains traces of MSG. It’s another toxin for the developing and growing brain of a child. The artificial flavors might also contain MSG.
  • Disrupted balance of stomach: Drinking soda also upsets the stomach’s fragile balance, creating a more acidic environment for your stomach. This acidic situation can create inflammation, acid reflux, and duodenal lining, creating stomach aches.

Ways to limit soda for kids

It’s vital for you as an adult to take responsibility to administer how much soda your child is consuming in a week. However, as a working parent, it can be challenging to look at everything your child does on top of household chores.

But it’s necessary to note down the food and drinks consumed by your growing child as it greatly affects their physical and mental growth. You have to minimize their soda consumption if they’re getting addicted to it before it’s too late.

Start by slowly and gradually easing them into a routine of replacing their soda with water if they habitually drink it with their meals. It’s because if your child is habitual of consuming a lot of soda, they might witness caffeine withdrawal symptoms, including depleted energy levels for a few days. 

You can even offer milk or fruit juice as a substitute. But if you have a stubborn teenager, you can encourage them to work out more to burn the excess energy and sugar instead of banishing their soda altogether.


Does soda shorten your life?

Drinking a lot of soda disrupts one’s health and creates a lot of health issues. Due to the nature of soda, containing high sugar levels increases the risk of death from cardiovascular or digestive problems.

Consuming cans of soda with the increase in caffeine levels of these drinks will prove to be harmful.

Can you live off of only drinking soda?

No. Surviving solely on soda is the worst idea you can implement for your life. It doesn’t have any nutritional value and can create several health issues for any healthy body.

You can’t switch your water to soda as nothing fulfills the water requirement, and this is the worst replacement you can think of in any possible way.

Will I lose weight if I stop drinking coke?

Any soda contains a high level of artificial sugar which is bad for your health and causes multiple health issues.

Cutting down on this form of sugar will definitely result in weight loss and aid in weight loss. Things will be much better if accompanied by healthy eating and a regular exercise routine.

Should children have soda?

Any growing child shouldn’t have too much soda. Until you become an adult, you shouldn’t drink more than 8 ounces of sugar-sweetened drinks in a week. These include sodas, energy drinks, flavored water, and sweetened teas.

There should be a limitation on the amount of these sugary beverages consumed in a week overlooked by an adult.

To summarize

Soda might not technically affect your child’s growth or physically stunt their growth, but it does more harm in the long run than you could realize. These sugary beverages your child consumes with so much enthusiasm can seriously impact their health and cause various health issues like diabetes.

If your child consumes more than the recommended sodas in a week, the caffeine and sugar level increases simultaneously.

At the end of the day, you have to be mindful about your child’s consumption of sodas and teach them to drink them in moderation. Everything in moderation is good, and you have to teach them the importance of it all!

Share this article:

Was this article helpful?
Saumya Malik
I'm an ardent follower of everything good for the health and wellness of body and mind. I am passionate about providing effective solutions to general health and mental well-being issues and wants to help people achieve the same. When I'm not writing, you can find me curled up with a good book in a corner or cooking as a form of good mental therapy.

We’re proud to be a team of writers who are truly passionate about all things health.

Coming together from all parts of the world, we share a common goal of helping serve many with our comprehensive research and clear writing style. Learn more.

Nutrition & Diet