U.S. babies, toddlers consume sugar well beyond recommended levels

Toddlers Consume More 'Added Sugar' Than The Recommended Amount For Adults

Toddlers Consume More 'Added Sugar' Than The Recommended Amount For Adults

Kirsten Herrick, the lead author of the study and a nutritional epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a statement that this is the first time the body has looked at how much added sugar children below the age of two eat. That's more than in many candy bars.

Added sugar is sugar that's put in food during preparation or processing.

Children, particularly toddlers, who consume sugary foods are much more likely to make poor diet choices later in life. The finding showed that the amount of added sugar consumed increased with the age of a child. "These data may be relevant to the upcoming 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans".

The study analyzed data from more than 800 infants and toddlers between 6 and 23 months old in the 2011-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey research study.

The researchers pointed out that toddlers really should be getting sugar from fruits and vegetables, not from foods with added sugar. 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. Further studies are planned that will better evaluate the specific sources of added sugar children are eating.

The parents of the study participants were asked to note down everything their child ate in a 24-hour period.

"The easiest way to reduce added sugars in your own diet and your kids' diet is to choose foods that you know don't have them, like fresh fruits and vegetables", Herrick advises. To measure the consumption of added sugar, the researchers documented foods containing cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey and other forms of sugar.

About 85 percent of them were found to eat added sugar in a given day. By the time the children were between 19 to 23 months of age, 99 percent were taking in an average of 7 teaspoons 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.

According to both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association, children under the age of 2 shouldn't consume foods or drinks with added sugars at all. Regardless of the recommendations, most people in the USA eat more than this limit, research shows. 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.

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