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.
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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.
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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 In addition, the study has not been peer-reviewed.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.