Can You Drink Dr. Pepper While Pregnant? Is It Safe?

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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Dr. Pepper is a popular carbonated soft drink that many enjoy around the world. But is it safe to consume when you are pregnant? 

Overall, Dr. Pepper is safe for pregnant women. However, it is essential to note the high amount of added sugar, caffeine, and empty calories it contains. Therefore, consume Dr. Pepper in moderation.

From the specific ingredients to how much is safe, let’s dive into more information about drinking Dr. Pepper while you are pregnant.

Is Dr. Pepper Safe to Drink During Pregnancy?

Overall, Dr. Pepper is safe to consume during pregnancy. However, it is very high in sugar, caffeine, and excess calories and therefore should be consumed in moderation. Additionally, Dr. Pepper does not provide any beneficial nutrients.

Dr. Pepper is famous for its unique blend of 23 flavors, which give the soda the distinctive taste so many people love. 

The Sugar and Sweeteners

Let’s talk about portion sizing. A typical can contain 12 fluid ounces of Dr. Pepper. This amount has 150 calories and 39 grams of sugar. Similarly, the Dr. Pepper bottle often found in vending machines is a whopping 16.9 fluid ounces.

The recommendation for all women is to consume no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day (source: American Heart Association). Therefore, finishing just one 12-ounce can of Dr. Pepper soda already exceeds the daily recommendation.

Keep in mind that many soda cup sizes you would encounter when eating fast food or dining out at a restaurant are larger than 12 fluid ounces. 

In other words, the sugar content can add up quickly, even when it seems as if you are just consuming a little bit.

a can of dr pepper soft drink

However, what about the Diet drinks Dr. Pepper variety? Diet Dr. Pepper removes the regular sugar and is sweetened by the artificial non-nutritive sweetener aspartame. Aspartame is the same sweetener that is found in Equal or NutraSweet packets.

Aspartame is a non-nutritive sweetener that has been deemed safe to consume during pregnancy in moderate amounts by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (source: American Pregnancy Association). However, it also does not provide any significant nutritional benefits. 

To read more about the safety of aspartame during your pregnancy, check out this article here

The Caffeine in Dr. Pepper

Now let’s discuss the caffeine content. Dr. Pepper and Diet Dr. Pepper both contain approximately 45 milligrams of caffeine per 12 fluid ounces (source: Journal of Food Science).

Pregnant women should limit their amounts of caffeine intake to 200 milligrams per day (source: March of Dimes). 

Aside from soda, caffeine is also found in coffee, teas, energy drinks, chocolate, and more. When deciding whether or not to enjoy a Dr. Pepper, be sure to consider any other sources of caffeine you’ve had.

Is Dr. Pepper Bad When Pregnant?

Dr. Pepper should not be consumed in large amounts during pregnancy. This is primarily due to caffeine, added sugars, and more. 

Of course, calories are not “bad” during pregnancy (or ever!). However, it is best to consume calories that are also rich in nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, and healthy fats. 

The calories from Dr. Pepper do not contain any beneficial nutrients and are instead just empty calories.

dr pepper soft drinks in aluminum cans

How Much Dr. Pepper Can I Drink When Pregnant? 

When consuming Dr. Pepper, whether regular or the diet variety, it is best to stick with just eight to 12 fluid ounces a day, approximately one can. If you choose to consume Dr. Pepper, it is best to avoid drinking it daily. 

This is because the regular Dr. Pepper is very high in sugar, and both the regular and diet varieties have about 45 milligrams of caffeine. 

Many pregnant women crave sodas like Dr. Pepper, often due to the significant hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. 

For a healthier option, choose lower sugar or zero-calorie substitutes, such as sparkling water or flavored water, instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. These beverages give you the carbonation of a soda or soft drink without the calories, added sugar, and caffeine content. 

I hope you found this article helpful in breaking down the facts regarding the safety of drinking Dr. Pepper during pregnancy.