Sweet young years: toddlers are getting too much added sugars, CDC reports

While the body processes natural and added sugars in the same way, added sugar raises concerns among nutritionists because it often replaces necessary nutrients in the diet.

Accordingly, kids between 1 and 2 years of age were consuming added sugar nearly exclusively and the consumed amount is equal to 7 teaspoons of sugar per day.

This study was carried out with the participation of the parents of 800 children from Maryland, aged between 6 and 23 months, who were consuming added sugars. And as children grow up, their preference for unhealthy foods is likely influenced by a sugar-filled diet in early life, according to researchers. By 19 to 23 months, 99% of children ate an average of over seven teaspoons of added sugar on a given day. The team analysed the amount of sugar consumed by checking on amounts of cane sugar, honey, other forms of sugar such as high-fructose corn syrup etc. Sugars found naturally in fruits, vegetables and milk were not included in the analysis as were artificial zero-calorie sweeteners. Children were also found to consume added sugar before the age of one.

Under current recommendations, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) state anyone 2 and older should not be getting more than 10 percent of daily calories from added sugar. In a 24 hour window period, all the foods that the child was consuming was recorded.

Consuming added sugar has been linked to a host of health problems including skyrocketing obesity rates and increased risk for diabetes and heart disease. Added sugar consumption was highest among non-Hispanic black children and lowest among non-Hispanic white children in kids aged between 12 and 23 months. The research titled "Consumption of added sugars among US infants aged 6-23 months, 2011-2014" was presented at the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting in Boston on June 10.

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In the future, researchers will investigate the specific foods children consume their added sugar. For the 6- to 11-month-olds, 61 percent of the sugar in their diet was added sugar.

The researchers say that at present there are no specific recommendations for children under the age of 2 years in the U.S. government's 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA).

But most Americans exceed those limits.

She also advised people to opt for healthier ways to satisfy a sweet tooth, such as choosing more foods like whole fruits and vegetables and less of pre-sweetened cereals or juices.

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