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Do you drink soda?

Jones_soda_small_hand
Just a week behind, I finally got around to reading an article in the NYT that considers treating soda like tobacco - through taxes, warning labels, and big public awareness campaigns to discourage consumption.  Also recalling a recent (California) study that linked soda consumption to obesity, it made me consider my own soda consumption, both as a child growing up and now as a parent.

Growing up, soda was the drink of choice in the household once my brothers and I were in the elementary years.  My parents drank a lot of soda.  We, the children, we allowed to drink Sprite but weren't allowed to drink Coke.  "It has caffeine; it's bad for you!"  It was my body-image issues that led to counting every calorie when I was a certain age, which is when I stopped drinking soda.  All the empty calories!  In my adulthood, I drank diet soda from time-to-time.  I recall having a Diet Coke every afternoon during my second pregnancy.

Our girls have rarely had soda.  There are some birthday parties where soda may be the only option, and - while I have suggested they try it - they have never liked the stuff.  Last fall, the family gifted me a carbonator for my birthday, to fuel my love for soda water, and - as a special treat - we have also made some cherry-flavored (cherry extract, sugar, water, and some CO2) soda for the kids.  But, even that, they don't so much love.  Sometimes they girls will tell me, coming home from playdates, that their friends offered them soda with their snacks.  All in all, though, we don't seem to be big soda drinkers.  We don't buy the stuff.

Do you drink soda?  How much?  A serving or two a day?  Maybe once in a while when you go out?  Maybe never?  How about the kids?  When did they first have soda?  Do they like it and ask for it?

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I don't drink soda. My mom considered soda unhealthy and there was only one time we drank it: on long car trips to Vermont (a couple of times a year), we always stopped at one little sub shop for sandwiches and soda. That was it.

I suppose I might have considered it forbidden fruit and longed for it, but I never did. Even when I got to college, where it was free-flowing in the cafeteria, I stuck to water. Soda just doesn't taste very good to me.

We are raising our kids the same way. They get Hot Lips fruit sodas or Hansen's for their birthday parties, but aside from that, soda doesn't enter the house and we don't buy it for them when we go out. They do like it, more than I ever did. But we are very firm about this being a very occasional treat.

I never even liked soda. As a kid I was the one drinking water or milk at parties. I didn't drink any kind of soda or cola (other than the VERY occasional root beer, like once a year) until I started drinking alcohol. Rum and coke, gin and tonic, that sort of thing. Now I don't drink alcohol or soda. But I do love my coffee!

The kids want root beer or sprite sometimes but we very rarely have it. Why would we? There are so many yummy healthy things to drink instead that taste great - and we mostly drink water.

I never drink soda. Maybe once a year? That might even be a stretch. In fact, I never really drink anything besides water for thirst. Other times and for other purposes I drink coffee (to wake up), tea (to warm up or relax), or an alcoholic drink (for fun).

When I was a kid my mom bought Hansen's natural soda, and sometimes we drank the generic brands of some other sodas.

I hate the stuff now, and I don't let my kids drink it either. Occasionally we buy "bubble juice" but it is always a considered a very special treat and it is usually natural soda or ginger ale.

I treat soda the same way I would treat dessert.

We don't drink soda most of the time. Occasionally my husband gets a hankering for it and will buy some, but mostly we only have water, milk, or juice. Our son never has liked "bubbly drinks," although our daughter does and would likely drink soda if we had it around. I don't intend to ever make it a part of our regular household foodstuffs. I did soda growing up, but mostly in restaurants - we rarely had it around the house. Seems best to never really acquire the taste!

Once in a very rare while my husband has a craving for Dr. Pepper and will buy a liter. I will have a coke from time to time when we go out to dinner, but it is so addictive I try to not to and have water instead. My nine year old son has not ever had a sip of pop and against my better judgement I allowed my youngest to have some root beer at a birthday party last year. Of course he loved it and kept on wanting more. I really have to watch him with the sugar. My husband and I don't drink anymore and our drink of choice is coffee from our favorite coffee shop around the corner from our home.

Growing up, we had soda in the house but it was for my parents to drink. We only got to drink soda when we had pizza or popcorn, which meant it was a treat.

When left to my own devices in college, I drank a lot of juice and Cokes. I also drank several lattes because I worked as a barista. I was an anxious wreck from all that caffeine. I cut out caffeine back in 2002 and I feel MUCH better. So sodas and caffenated beverages are rare for me. I'm not a Nazi about it, I still have a Coke as a rare treat or caffenated coffee if that is all that is available. I am now a seltzer addict, but I want to switch to plain water and nonfat milk as my primary drinks of choice.

Since we don't have soda regularly in the house, my daughter will likely just have it as a treat or in someone else's house. I am not completely anti-sugar in the form of cookies or dessert items, since I am trying to teach my daughter the lost art of moderation-eating only one cookie or having a small portion of ice cream on a Friday night. But, I think that soda can quickly become the drink of choice if it is readily available.

I moved to Nashville last year and just popped in here to see what Portland mamas were talking about. I had to comment on this thread because here in Tennessee, people drink Dr. Pepper or Cokes for BREAKFAST. I guess it is no different from a large mocha frappucino in terms of sugar, caffeine, and calories, but it still blows my mind when I see it!

My kids both say soda is "sparkly" and hurts their mouths. They won't drink it even if there is nothing else to drink. I on the other hand loved soda as a kid. And as a teenager and 20 something, found Mountain Dew to be the very best cure for a hangover. A Big Gulp from 7-11, ahhh. Now I can't tolerate the sugar or carbonation in soda.

I couldn't handle the carbonation in soda until I about 12yrs but then I became a caffeine addict, drinking increasing amounts of Diet Coke until I switched to coffee in college (also started drinking water in college). My parents didn't buy soda but they didn't limit me when I started drinking it on my own as a teenager. I don't have any desire to drink it now but do enjoy a cold, carbonated fruit juice every once in a while.

My husband drank soda constantly when we met and slowly cut back as we got older (with me reminding him how bad it is). He only drinks "natural" sodas now (no high fructose corn syrup) and only on the weekends and only one at a time -- he works at limiting them.

Our kids don't drink them -- our 6yr-old can't handle the carbonation and the 3yr-old hasn't ever tasted any. The older get a sip of Daddy's if she asks but she rarely wants more than that. She gets the message at school that soda is bad so we have to explain that Daddy's is not as bad and he only drinks a little. Not wanting to make it forbidden, we try to explain the different kinds, why it isn't good to drink it regularly, what is better for our bodies but that every once in a while is okay. They think it weird that other kids have soda all the time.

I grew up in a house where soda, sugar, chips etc. did not exist. I only found out about such treats when I went over to my friends house to spend the night. I couldn't believe she got these treats and I didn't! Then I found out that most people got treats like these, that is most people except me. I honestly felt deprived.

When I got older and started working, I bought my own treats and lots of them to make up for lost time I suppose. I finally evened it out though. Now I'm a mother and I do let my daughter have treats on occasion, and she gets pop too but only about once a week for a special occasion like pizza night.

I don't want it to be like taboo and have her want it more than she should. But I also don't want her to have too much garbage food and pop and end up unhealthy. So I figure moderation is the healthy answer for us.

I think that whenever you go to an extreme weather it be "no junk food" or too much junk food, it's probably unhealthy.

We had soda in the house only rarely growing up. I remember loving Orange Crush but now find all sodas to be far too sweet. When I was in high school I switched to Diet Coke which I still love to this day. But, I don't drink it from a two liter or from a can and really only like it from a fountain. And preferably from 7-11 or McDonalds. Frankly, its delicious, but not so delicious that I'm going to go out of my way to 7-11 or McD's to get one.

My son had Sprite once and didn't like it. Phew. In my opinion there are enough empty calories in our diets without adding sugary sodas and juices. We're a milk and water family. Well, beer too, but that's just for grown ups.

I never liked the carbonation in soda, either, though rootbeer floats were a favorite treat in my house growing up -- we just couldn't afford it and almost never had it. I did the diet soda thing for a while in college (didn't we all?) before switching to coffee when I graduated. at about that time, I began to read up about high fructose corn syrup and became convinced it was the root of all dietary evil (along with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil... not before I participated in the Great Snackwell Cookie Lie -- sometimes I'd have two vending machine packages a day, convinced they were "healthy"! ;). that's why I was excited when Jones came out with their pure cane soda (as in the photo I added above).

but soda was still far too sweet, sugar or hfcs, and about two years ago I gave up processed sugar (unless you count the processing bees do) altogether. my husband still loves diet soda, however, and maintains this veil of innocence about Snapple and other (ahem) "juice" drinks. he's convinced they really aren't bad for you, no matter how many times I point out the three or four different sorts of chemical-industry sugar on the label.

so, my kids drink a bit of his when he brings it in the house. they all LOVE soda; when he's not around they'll never drink it but when he's home they'll probably each drink about a can's worth a week in illicit sips from daddy's drink. I explain to the kids how the sugar in soda fools your body into thinking it's not full, when it is, and that's how people get to an unhealthy weight; it's pretty effective for Everett, who's 7.5, but for Truman I may as well just tell him that sugar is a monster that wants to eat him and his brothers up. he doesn't care what I say, he just likes sugar...

I've written about the problem of soda plenty of times in some of the web sites I write for; I believe the overuse of it is a major contributor to our nation's health crisis and have urged its taxation. I have never seen so many angry commenters! the people who love soda, believe it's central to democracy, freedom, and the basic enjoyment of life, and taxing it seems like treason and flag-burning and whatever else they find evilly objectionable rolled into one. I don't understand the anger; but a few days after I wrote that post with all the anger, Coke was named the number one favorite brand in America. boy do we love our brands.

I grew up not being allowed to drink much soda (if any) at all. When my mom bought it, it was a special treat. That's why, when I went to Argentina as an exchange student in college, I was perplexed when my host family served me Coke every night with dinner for my first week with them. Seems that their perception of Americans was that we all drank Coke every day, morning, noon, and night.

After I gave up coffee (ODed on it as a high school/ college student growing up in newly-caffeinated Seattle in the late 80s/early90s), I switched to diet sodas. That lasted about 15 years. Then, when I got pregnant and was (am) breastfeeding, I realized that I couldn't, in good conscience, put all those chemicals in my babies' systems.

With my second baby (now 7 mo), I have cut out almost all processed foods, mainly because she reacts to so many common allergans. In many ways, it is a blessing. Even though the dietary changes were, for me, involuntary, I realize now how much better I feel when I don't eat/drink processed stuff, and mostly eat fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.

I honestly can't imagine buying my children soda. Not even the "natural" stuff. Just because it's natural doesn't mean it's good for you!

If they have some soda at other people's houses, fine. But I won't be giving it to them.

I love Hansens Natural Sodas, and used to buy them, but stopped when I had a baby. I think it is okay as an occasional treat out, but I won't buy soda to have it at home. It's a bad habit.
We never drank water growing up, all soda and those Capri Suns ... my mother still drinks diet sodas, which are even worse!

Wow. Am I the ONLY mother in Portland who drinks Diet Coke still? About one a day. It's my only vice and I think it's fine.
That said, my daughter has never tried pop. She self-categorized it as "grown up drinks" like wine, beer, and coffee. Fine with me. I didn't agree or disagree.

We rarely soda in the house. I will let my kids have a bit when they are out, but they don't really like it. Sugar has a negative impact on my 10 year old, fortunately she recognizes it's impact on her and rarely eats sweets or pop.

Coke was my mothers "guilty pleasure", she would share one can with my sister and I about once a month. When I was in high school I worked at a hamburger place and started drinking more coke. But I switched to mineral water when I realized it was the cause behind my stomach aches. I still remember the sound coke makes when coming out of a fountain, it sounds addictive.

The mention of husbands in this tread interesting. My husband started drinking quite a bit of soda at work, a few times under the dentist drill put a stop to that.

We've got a steady stream of Diet Coke (for my husband) and the occasional Hansen's soda in the house. Our household has also become hooked on carbonated water (I'm now looking up all info on Sodastream - thanks!). My 2 year old has obviously never had Diet Coke, but has had occasional sips of a Hansen's soda. She's acquired a taste for plain carbonated water as well, which is funny because as much as she loves it, it also looks like it's a little painful when she drinks it.

I did not drink much soda growing up but we had access to Kool Aid all the time so not much different. The whole family drinks water at home and will have soda or water when we go out. I give my 6 y/o the choice of water, tea, soda or juice when we go out and she usually will pick tea. I started letting her make that choice a couple of years ago. Up until 4 y/o it was water or juice. I think giving her the freedom to choose when we are out has taken the taboo out of those things and had made them less "special". I do not usually buy any type of special drinks for at home use. We all drink water or tea, no juice or sodas. I would not have a problem with taxing sodas and think it may be a way to minimize regular consumption of them...it worked with reducing the use of tobacco.

My husband grew up in Atlanta and soda was big there. He told me his mom used to give him coke in a bottle? I don't know if this is true or not. This was in the early 60's. However I do remember my first trip to Atlanta and we were staying at his mom's house when my then 4year old niece came walking into the kitchen and asked me to maker her some "girl coffee." My mother in law asked, "You don't know what girl coffee is?" Apparently it is a little coffee with lots of sugar and milk. The reasoning they have is that the caffeine calms the child? I don't get it.

Whew! Sarah, I am glad to understand what you meant. I didn't think that sounded like a comment you would make, but I didn't know where you were coming from (as I tend to not listen to anything that extreme). Thanks for clarifying.

Even though I am an avid Diet Coke fiend, I would be happy if they would tax it. It's not necessary, bad for us, and frankly, if it was pricier, maybe I wouldn't drink so darn much of it!

on another topic, reading 'Pippi Longstocking,' she drinks coffee and offers it frequently to her neighbors. I wonder if this is a Swedish thing or it's another example of Pippi's flouting convention? (I wouldn't blame her, my two youngest like the taste of coffee and will drink a few ounces once in a while from my cup.)

I am always baffled when I see young children drinking lots of soda....we never drank it growing up.
My daughter who is four years old went to her first big birthday party yesterday and they were serving red shasta. the parents who were passing it out were saying "juice or water?" to the kids. I was very annoyed. first of all it is not juice and second why didn't they just serve juice?? I couldn't pass it out in good conscience, so the kids on my end of the table I only offered water.... I felt torn.
My kids who are 2 1/2 and 4 drink water and milk and at breakfast watered down OJ. occasionally we will open a bottle of sparkling blueberry or cherry juice which has no sugar and they love it, but as for soda... not giving it to them at any age it seems so unnecessary.
jacquelyn

My husband and I occasionally have it around, him more so than me, and his is usually the juice/soda combos. He also loves sparkling waters. The kids know he occasionally gives them a small glass of it with dinner, but not every time he has one, and they see it as a treat, much like cookies for snack (sometimes we have cookies and isn't it great!). If we're out for dinner, Shirley Temples are the big treat, or lemonade. I don't have a problem with that as I'm an "everything in moderation" type. If I have soda around, it usually has caffeine and the kids know they can't have it because of that so they don't ever complain about wanting some. I find the sugar content just a bit much for me, so I honestly don't drink it that often. As for taxing it? I say go for it. It's as wrong as taxing alcohol or cigarettes given who the bill hits hardest, but I suppose it's as good an item as any to tax.

Really interesting discussion...I really hope I don't come off as racist for saying this, but I see huge cultural divides in my city when it comes to soda. I've recently moved back to my hometown of Tucson, where the Hispanic culture is strong. In the last year I have seen babies/toddlers drinking coke out of baby bottles, shopping carts at the grocery store full of cases of soda and processed foods, and kids drinking "big gulps" of soda at parks and around town. Many of these families are also very overweight, if not obese. It makes me so sad every time I see it. I definitely believe there is a connection between soda and obesity and would support a tax of some sort.

We are a "everything in moderation" kind of family. I don't buy soda, but my kids have had it on occasion--vacations, holidays, sporting events, parties--we just don't make a big deal out of it. The choices at our house are usually water or milk, and in the summer we do offer diluted juice because it's so important to keep kids hydrated during the really hot months of the year here. My husband's family (in Europe) drinks far more soda than our own little family, or any of my extended American family members, which I have always thought is interesting.

I drink diet soda and my husband drinks both regular and diet soda. I grew up drinking it all the time. With two young children, I have been trying to wean myself of the daily soda habit and make it more of a "special treat". I want to be an "everything in moderation person", but I this is still more goal than reality for me. This is one of many areas of my life in which I am struggling to overcome my own less healthy habits so that I can model healthy behavior for my kids. I don't want them to be food extremists the way most people in this country are--we seem to be either obese or anorexic, junk food junkies or health food fanatics). Does anyone else struggle with how to do this for your children, when perhaps you haven't found the balance yourself.

We had soda all the time in my house. My after-school job in high school was at a burger joint and the employees could drink all the soda they wanted for free. I remember actually craving water by the end of the shift. (The water in my Kansas hometown was horrible and the restaurant did not have a water filter.)
I pretty much got off soda in college. I'm a big water drinker -- people often think it's amazing how much water I drink. Had a bit of a Diet Dr. Pepper addiction for awhile when I was working, but dropped it because I started have a lot of problems with the carbonation.
We rarely have soda in the house now -- unless our parents are visiting. I do like dry sodas, however, and now that I'm pregnant again, I do allow myself a weekly dry soda or sparkling water, served in a champagne glass, as an accompaniment to my husband's beer.

Our two-year-old had a sip of my dry soda once and didn't like it. Fine by me.

We allow soda occasionally for pizza nights, and we water it down, put lots of ice in it and only give very small amounts. I do not want to be deprived of soda EVER so why should they? We eat very well, we exercise. I agree with moderation, and understanding what is healthy and unhealthy, and keeping a balance. No one binges or craves, it is just there and then it isn't. As far as taxing, sure, I agree with raising prices/taxing cigarettes, fat food, sugar food, alcohol, gambling. More so I am all about a sales tax in Oregon, then our schools might stand a chance.

Ok, I'll admit it even if no one else will. I'm a total Diet Dr. Pepper addict. I go through about 4 2 liter bottles of the stuff a week. Sure the chemicals will probably kill me, but if not that than something else will. As far as habits go, it's pretty harmless. My kids get to drink sprite or root beer two or three times a month.

pdxmomto2...I have the EXACT same addiction--Diet Dr. Pepper, but I think I might drink a bit more than you do. It's my one-and-only caffeine delivery method. Oddly, I will not eat/drink artificial sweetener, except for my diet DP's.

My daughter drinks very little soda. Well, she's a middle-schooler, so that's relative. More than I drank at her age, I'm sure, but a ton less than many of her peers. She primarily drinks milk and water, and sometimes juice or plain Pellegrino with a twist. She makes pretty good choices, even when left to her own devices. The one thing I've really put my foot down about are energy drinks.

I drink soda maybe once or twice a month. Sometimes it's the thing I crave to go with a burger and fries. I also have a weakness for root beer floats.

My 4 year old confided in me recently that "I love soda!" though he knows it's unhealthy and the kids have it at a couple of times a year at parties or Blazers game where the only non-soda option is bottled water. Which is worse the bottle water or soda?

Like Leah, we also believe in moderation where milk & water are the main beverage choices...and sometimes we have orange and apple juice. I'd be more than happy to pay a soda tax. On the topic, gatorade and sports drinks are just as bad if not worse than soda especially the adverse impacts on your teeth.

Leah, do you think it may be socio-economic rather than cultural? Just a thought.

anon: Yes, I do and thank you for clarifying it that way for me.

my husband drinks dr pepper or sprite occasionally at lunch while at work. i have a coke maybe 5 times a year. my oldest loves root beer and gets it iced down once a week. my youngest hates the bubbles and says it is "spicy". i believe in moderation.

I grew up in the '70s and '80s drinking soda fairly frequently (though were were in the Midwest and called it pop!). I think at that point it was mostly made with cane sugar, not HFCS. The cavities I got as a teenager may or may not have been related. I switched to Diet Coke sometime around late high school or college, and drank it pretty frequently until about my late 20s -- then suddenly it began to taste totally nasty. Now I mostly drink plain water, sparkling water (sometimes with juice added), tea, coffee, and very occasionally a bottled sparkling water/juice combo like Izze.

One rule in our house is that none of us consume HFCS. My son mostly drinks milk and watered-down juice. I've let him have Izzes every now and then, but it's rarely more than once a month -- and it's really just sparkling water with juice and no extra sugar, so it seems fine. My husband and I sometimes share a Mexican Coke when we're at a cafe that serves it, but I don't think my five-year-old has had one yet. (Though we live right by the Coca-Cola "syrup factory" in Kerns ... to him it's just a big building that he can bounce balls against.)

Diet Coke, Diet Dr. Pepper, Coke Zero...but only on Fridays in case I have trouble sleeping that night due to caffeine. I am HORRIBLY sensitive to the stuff! We only had soda with pizza in my house growing up. My brother cannot drink soda due to a GI issue (can't burp!). My daughter is 4.5 and asks what I am drinking, but thinks it looks and smells yucky! I used to be a DC addict, and if I didn't have my fix before 11am, I would suffer with migraines the rest of the day, and couldn't sleep at night, and this was only on about 3/4 of one can per day. I don't like a "soft" drink having that much control of my life. But, boy, do they taste good!

This made me think of the tragic phenomenon of "Mountain Dew Mouth" in the Appalachians. It's heartbreaking. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=6863173&page=1

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say it's pretty cultural. We can thank Coca-Cola and Pepsi directly for their excellent marketing all over Latin America for the fact that Latinos consume so much soda. The last time I was visiting family in Oaxaca, there, in the middle of the downtown plaza, was a 30-foot Christmas tree decorated entirely in Coca-Cola emblems. Two polar bear statues sat nearby. It was 85 degrees and sunny. "Surreal" does not come close to describing the scene.

I can also thank soda companies for the fact that all of my kid's great-grandparents have diabetes and that my grandfather can no longer walk because of it.

And no, we don't drink soda.

Yes I drink soda...Also call it heart disease, diabetes and tooth decay. I don't have kids, and thanks to my excellent marvelous mother didn't drink it as child. When I do have kids they aren't getting any of it from me.

This is personal but Mother Jones claims to give a crap about children, people and the planet. But they have nasty bone dissolving sh*t, and tons of sugar in their soda. That company could have made unsweetened carbonated fruit juice. I buy coke or generic cheap brands...nothing from those lying hypocrites.

PS I left osteoperosis off the list of ingredients.

i stopped drinking soda...but not actually quit it (i drink ocassionally especially during parties or whatever).....hmmm. but i feel dizzy and my stomach feels itch when i do.

I might have a soda every 3-4 months, and my 3-year old daughter has never had more than a sip or two. It's not in our house, so she never asks for it.

I was a major soft drink addict. I tried to switch to drinking regular water, but I miss the fizz and the flavor. So I picked up the sodastream penguin and started making my own carbonated water. I don't use any of their flavors. I flavor it myself using a slice of fruit, or a splash of fruit juice. It is a great substitute for soda pops.
Since I quit drinking sodas, I dropped about 8 pounds. I also just feel better about what I am putting in my body. Read the back of a soda pop label some time and take a look at the ingredients. I can't even pronounce some of the things they put in there.

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