American Toddlers Eat So Much 'Added Sugar' That They Exceed Adult Recommendations

American Toddlers Eat So Much 'Added Sugar' That They Exceed Adult Recommendations

American Toddlers Eat So Much 'Added Sugar' That They Exceed Adult Recommendations

A new study shows American toddlers are getting too much sugar.

And that added sugar added up: the oldest toddlers in the study, aged between 19 to 23 months, averaged about seven teaspoons of added sugar per day, more than the amount in a Kit Kat bar, the study found.

"This is the first time we have looked at added sugar consumption among children less than 2 years old", Herrick said.

It was found 60 percent of children began consuming added sugar before their first birthday. CDC report warns that toddlers are facing the highest level of added sugars in their diets - and it will pay off dearly during the life of the generation to come. And added sugar has been linked with obesity, asthma, dental cavities and heart disease risk factors such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, the study authors said.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, issued by the USA government, recommends children between 2 and 19, limit added sugar intake to 6 teaspoons per day.

There is no chemical difference between natural sugars in fruits, vegetables, and milk, and processed sugars. Since 1960, around 190,000 people have taken part in the study in total. That rose to 98 percent among those babies 12 to 18 months, who averaged 5.5 teaspoons of added sugar a day. In a 24 hour window period, all the foods that the child was consuming was recorded. "Our results show that added sugar consumption begins early in life and exceeds current recommendations". To measure the consumption of added sugar, the researchers documented foods containing cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey and other forms of sugar.

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The demographic that ate the most sugar were non-Hispanic black children aged between 12 to 23 months, while white children ate the least.

Herrick said the findings could have implications for the upcoming revision of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The data revealed that 85% of the children involved in the study ate added sugar on any given day, and the amount they consumed crept up as they aged. For adult men, the limit is 9 teaspoons or less of added sugar per day. However, parents should always have the goal to give their children less added sugar, say the researchers of the study.

The US government's 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) does not include guidelines specific for children under age 2 although the 2020-2025 edition, soon to be in development, will include dietary recommendations for infants and toddlers.

The team plans to further investigate the data, including examining trends over time. In addition, the study has not been peer-reviewed.

"The AHA recommends reading ingredients" nutritional labels carefully, since "sugar has many other names".

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