United States toddlers are consuming too much sugar finds study

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

The results revealed that 85 percent of the toddlers and infants studied were consuming added sugars in their daily diet.

And yet new data presented this week (June 10) at the American Society for Nutrition's annual meeting show that American infants are consuming excessive amounts of added sugar in their diets, much more than the amounts now recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA) and other medical organizations. Energy and protein bars can also contain a lot of sugar, and it's also found in the condiments we add to foods: each tablespoon of ketchup contains one teaspoon of sugar. Additional resources on infant and toddler nutrition are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 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.

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

"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", said Herrick.

In the US, at least one in five children ages 6 to 19 years old is obese, according to the CDC.

The body processes all types of sugars in the same way, but those added to food are believed to be more harmful.

Researchers found sugar consumption starts early in life and increases as babies develop.

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Now, according to the CDC, all these pediatric illnesses are triggered by a higher added sugar consumption than normal in toddlers across the U.S. 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. In the survey, parents were asked to track everything their children ate in a 24-hour period.

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

How is added sugar different from natural sugar? At present the guidelines recommend using 6 teaspoons or less daily in individuals aged between 2 to 19 years and adult women and less than 9 teaspoons for adult men per day. With age the sugar consumption rose. Some 98 percent of toddlers between 12 and 18 months ate foods with added sugar. As for children under the age of 2, it is recommended that they avoid eating foods containing added sugar altogether.

The researchers say that at present there are no specific recommendations for children under the age of 2 years in the United States government's 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). Other studies have identified ready-to-eat cereals, bakery items and other desserts, sugar-sweetened beverages, yogurt and candy to be significant sources of added sugar in children's diets.

Despite these recommendations, however, a previous study shows that the majority of Americans consume more than what they're supposed to. However, added sugars are considered more damaging to health because they displace nutritional components of foods and contribute significantly to caloric intake.

"Added sugars" are sugars added as a powder or sucrose syrup.

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