U.S. toddlers are consuming too much sugar finds study

Henrietta Strickland
June 14, 2018

A new study suggests children in the United States begin consuming added sugar at a very young age and that many toddlers' sugar intake exceeds the maximum amount recommended for adults. This is close to, or more than, the amount of sugar recommended by AHA for adult women (six teaspoons) and men (nine teaspoons).

The researchers pointed out that toddlers really should be getting sugar from fruits and vegetables, not from foods with added sugar.

According to the American Heart Association, the major sources of added sugars for Americans are regular soft drinks, sugars, cookies, candies, ice creams, and cakes.

They found that 85 percent of the infants and toddlers consumed added sugar on a given day and that added sugar consumption rose with age. Seven teaspoons of added sugar, twice the amount in a cup of chocolate milk, was the average for toddlers between 19 and 23 months.

Eating foods with added sugar leads to a number of health conditions, including obesity, cavities and possibly heart disease.

Now, according to the CDC, all these pediatric illnesses are triggered by a higher added sugar consumption than normal in toddlers across the USA and the experts recommend parent to avoid feeding their children with products that are known to contain added sugar, such as sweetened cereals, candies, sweet sodas, fruity yogurts, and so on.

Despite these recommendations, however, a previous study shows that the majority of Americans consume more than what they're supposed to. The research titled "Consumption of added sugars among USA infants aged 6-23 months, 2011-2014" was presented at the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting in Boston on June 10. Overweight children who continue to consume added sugar are more likely to become insulin resistant, a precursor to diabetes. "These data may be relevant to the upcoming 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans". High sugar consumption is also related to high levels of cholesterol and high blood pressure.

What makes added sugar different is their quality of being high-calorie sweeteners, which do not carry other nutritional components (such as fiber or protein) often found in naturally occurring sugar sources.

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

According to the CDC children under the age of 2 should not get added sugar at all.

Please note that abstracts presented at Nutrition 2018 were evaluated and selected by a committee of experts but have not generally undergone the same peer review process required for publication in a scientific journal.

Even if the food sounds healthy, it can contain a large dose of added sugar.

In the future, researchers will investigate the specific foods children consume their added sugar.

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

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