American toddlers consume too much added sugar

A new study has found that toddlers eat an average of 7 teaspoons of added sugar each day

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

A new study suggests children in America are eating too much sugar, and too soon.

Added sugar consumption for many children begin at a very early age, according to a new study.

There is no chemical difference between sugars that are found naturally in fruits, vegetables and milk and sugars that are added to food products during processing or preparation.

Sugars added to soda or candy or processed foods are usually just that, sugar. Ninety-nine percent of toddlers ages 19-23 months took in an average of 7 teaspoons of added sugar on a given day.

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

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"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.

But most Americans exceed those limits.

The study is expected to be presented at the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting during Nutrition 2018. The finding showed that the amount of added sugar consumed increased with the age of a child.

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

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

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Among children aged 12-23 months, Herrick said added sugar consumption was highest among non-Hispanic black children and lowest among non-Hispanic white children.

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

But high amounts of added sugar can be hidden in seemingly healthy food: a single-size serving of yogurt with fruit at the bottom can contain up to six teaspoons of sugar.

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.

Daily recommended limits for added sugar are 6 teaspoons or less a day for children 2 to 19 years old and for adult women, and 9 teaspoons or less a day for adult men. In addition, the study has not been peer-reviewed. However, parents should always have the goal to give their children less added sugar, say the researchers of the study.

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"The AHA recommends reading ingredients" nutritional labels carefully, since "sugar has many other names". In order to evaluate added sugar consumption, the researchers included any calorie-containing sugars such as high-fructose corn syrup but excluded naturally occurring sugars such as fruits. The problem will be even bigger as they will get older, a new study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control concludes.

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