Sugar consumption by toddlers exceeds adult recommendations

Too sweet

Too sweet

A new study suggests children in the U.S. begin consuming added sugar at a very young age and that many toddlers' sugar intake exceeds the maximum amount recommended for adults.

From run-of-the-mill granulated white sugar to high fructose corn syrup, dietitian Dana Angelo White explained how "these sweeteners are a pure source of carbohydrate and have about 15 calories per teaspoon". The problem will be even bigger as they will get older, a new study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control concludes.

According to American Heart Association, the children who are below 2 years old should avoid consuming food items which consist of added sugar, including baked goods, sugary drinks desserts, ready to eat cereals, candy and yogurt.

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.

Added sugar is sugar that's put in food during preparation or processing. They do not include naturally occurring sugars such as those found in fruits, vegetables, and milk. And as children grow up, their preference for unhealthy foods is likely influenced by a sugar-filled diet in early life, according to researchers.

Researchers noted that in their sample of participants, 99 percent of the toddles aged between 19 and 23 months were consuming an average of over 7 teaspoons of added sugar each day.

The parents of the study participants were asked to note down everything their child ate in a 24-hour period. However soon to be developed is the 2020-2025 edition that will outline the recommended amounts of sugars and fats children under 2 should consume.


The researchers explain that foods that contain added sugars are not beneficial for the body as they do not provide the benefits that fruits and vegetables that naturally contain sugars provide.

Consumption of added sugar among Americans has been a widely discussed subject. At age 6-11 months, just over 60 percent of babies consumed added sugar on a given day, averaging just under 1 teaspoon.

But most Americans exceed those limits. At present the guidelines recommend using 6 teaspoons or less daily in individuals aged between 2 to 19 years and adult women and less than 9 teaspoons for adult men per day. She said that future studies are aiming at looking at the types of foods that are contributing to the excess sugar intake in kids as well.

What can parents do to reduce their kids' sugar intake?

Factoring in added sugar taken with coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages, the number gets bumped up to 47 percent.

The 2015 to 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that sweetened beverages are the major source of added sugars in typical USA diets-in fact, they account for 47% of all added sugars consumed by 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.

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