In this day and age where it is common place to attend a bounce house birthday party followed by cheese pizza, buttercream sheet cake and juice boxes, the thing to watch out for here is too much SUGAR!!!

I wonder, whatever happened to good old-fashioned cake and milk?

Cake washed down with a juice box is just sugar on top of sugar, not to mention the fact that sugar especially from beverages combines with the bacteria in your child’s mouth to form acid weakening the tooth enamel and leading to cavity formation. Don’t be fooled by zero calorie sodas either;they also contain acid and can be just as harmful for your child’s teeth.

Consider this: 4 grams of sugar is equivalent to 1 tsp of granulated sugar. A can of Dr. Pepper or Coca- Cola for example has about 40 grams of sugar in one can. That is the equivalent of spooning 10 teaspoons of sugar into your child’s mouth- YUCK!

The next time you are assigned to bring beverages to your child’s event, take a look at this:

Highest Sugar

  1. Minute Maid Kids +; 24grams
  2. Chocolate milk; 24 grams
  3. Juicy Juice, cherry ; 27 grams
  4. Motts Apple Juice; 28 grams
  5. Gatorade, lemon; 28 grams
  6. Dr. Pepper; 40 grams
  7. Can of Coke; 39 grams

A lot

  1. Powerade, grape ; 15 grams
  2. Pediasure, chocolate; 16 grams
  3. Capri Sun, wild cherry; 18 grams
  4. Ensure, vanilla; 18 grams

Best Choice

  1. Water; 0 grams
  2. Pediasure, vanilla; 0 grams
  3. Diet soda; 0 grams
  4. Propel ; 2 grams
  5. G2 grape sports drink; 7 grams
  6. Honest Kids Grape Juice Box; 10 grams
  7. White Milk; 12 grams


A recent study in Pediatrics suggests that caffeinated energy drinks such as Red Bull and Monster Energy may trigger heart palpitations and seizures in children, especially those with pre-existing conditions such as mood disorders, diabetes, heart disease and those taking certain medications. The review by Drs. Seifert, Schaechter, Hershorin and Lipshultz found no evidence that such drinks can improve energy, weight loss, athletic performance or concentration. According to self-report surveys, 30-50% of teens /tweens consume energy drinks. The authors concluded that energy drinks have no therapeutic benefit, and many ingredients are understudied and not regulated.

Another word of caution is that American kids are primarily getting their caffeine from either sodas or coffee (see table below for caffeine content). Parents should be mindful that there are potentially serious adverse effects in association with caffeine consumption in general such as sleep disturbance and elevated blood pressure which are not just limited to energy drinks.

Caffeine Content

  1. 8 ounce can of Coke; 23 mg
  2. 8 ounce cup of coffee; 100 mg
  3. 16 ounce “Bold Pick/Starbucks”; 330 mg
  4. 8.5 ounce can energy drink*; 50-160mg / 27 grams sugar

*note: ingredients such as cocoa and guarana may increase the mg of caffeine beyond what is labeled

My advice is that water is always the best choice, and it’s best to avoid coffee, soda and energy drinks altogether.

– Dr. Mix