Can I have Diet Dr. Pepper while 22 weeks pregnant? I’m not worried about the caffeine, but all of a sudden people started freaking out when they found out that I have one on three to five afternoons a week.—Nothing Else Unsweetened Tastes Good
I had not heard this before, so I got curious and went down the Google rabbit hole. I don’t recommend that, but as far as I can tell, the two concerns are (a) caffeine and (b) artificial sweeteners.
In the case of caffeine: A 12-ounce Diet Dr. Pepper has 41 milligrams of caffeine. An 8-ounce cup of coffee has about 100 milligrams. I’ve spent a lot of time talking about coffee in pregnancy, and without revising that here, let me just say that the evidence is strongly supportive of the safety of coffee up to two cups a day. That would be about five Dr. Peppers a day. So you are well under the limits in caffeine.
In terms of artificial sweeteners, there isn’t any particular recommendation against them in pregnancy. Large-scale studies in animals do not show issues in pregnancy, and they are widely considered safe. This doesn’t mean you cannot find people arguing that they are dangerous, but the data behind it is quite limited. Should you have stevia as the exclusive part of your diet? No. But you’re consuming in moderation, as many millions of others have too.
So enjoy! Tell people to lay off. This is a perfect time for the set of “Well, actually…” cards I fantasize about making for pregnant women to hand out when people give them a hard time about diet. Someday…