January 20, 2019

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

14 June 2018, 03:59 | Randall Craig

Most American Toddlers Eat More Than the Recommended Sugar Intake for Adults, Study Shows

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

Between the ages of six to 11 months, just over 60% of babies ate added sugar on a given day, at around under one teaspoon on average.

America's toddlers are getting too much sugar, according to a new study. Dr. Herrick said the easiest method of reducing added sugars in one's own and one's children's diets is to choose foods that do not contain added sugars such as fruits and vegetables. Additional resources on infant and toddler nutrition are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. According to the CDC children under the age of 2 should not get added sugar at all.

It turns out, the average toddler's intake of added sugar even exceeds the recommended amount of added sugar for adults.

The latest research raises fears on how early exposure to extra sugar - in foods like packaged cereals, baked goods, desserts sugary drinks and candy - can contribute to long-term problems of obesity, diabetes, cavities and asthma. Further studies are planned that will better evaluate the specific sources of added sugar children are eating. Artificial sweeteners with zero calories and natural sugars found in fruits, vegetables and milk weren't included.

"Once kids start eating table food, they're often eating the same types of foods that Mom and Dad have in their diet, and other research has demonstrated that adults exceed recommendations for added sugar too", Herrick said.

That oldest group consumed an average of 7.1 teaspoons of added sugar each day - more than the amount of sugar in a Snickers bar. In a 24 hour window period, all the foods that the child was consuming was recorded.

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

Almost every toddler consumed added sugar. However, added sugars are considered less healthy because they change nutritional components of food and create additional calories. With age the sugar consumption rose. As for children under the age of 2, it is recommended that they avoid eating foods containing added sugar altogether. Regardless of the recommendations, most people in the US eat more than this limit, research shows.

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. Since 1960, around 190,000 people have taken part in the study in total. Other studies have suggested added sugar consumption among American children has declined over the years.

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

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